12.00 Update: BT chief executive Ian Livingston has unveiled a three-year plan that will see a significant upgrade to the telco’s IPTV service. It has also reached agreement with Arqiva to take DTT capacity to relay Sky Sports 1 and 2.
Unveiling what Livingston described as Vision 2.0, the enhanced platform would, in part through Project Canvas, have more HD content, advanced recommendation and search, integrated on demand and linear TV, premium channels including sports and “must-have” linear channels. To date BT Vision has offered a mix of on demand and linear content, the latter being drawn from the terrestrial Freeview platform. £2.5 billion is being invested in the expansion of BT’s fibre network.
“We are investing in the future of our business, enhancing our TV offering and building on opportunities in our Global Services business,” said Livingston, adding that BT intended to take advantage of Ofcom’s ruling on the wholesaling of Sky’s premium sports channels. “We are confident that consumers will benefit from this decision, and we aim to bring these channels to the market in time for the new Premiership football season and at lower prices than are available currently”. Comparing the possible cost of BT’s sports offer he said it was possible that BT would be able to price its sports package at £20 compared to the current £36 from Sky – a sizeable discount if not necessarily a direct comparison.
“Offering Sky Sports 1 and 2 to our customers is clearly an important milestone for both BT and of course our customers,” said Marc Watson, CEO BT Vision. “To enable delivery of these channels we have chosen to work with Arqiva for DTT capacity. They have a proven track record and will allow us to ensure a great service for our customers.”
Using the terrestrial system will take pressure off BT’s network infrastructure, though Broadband TV News understands the telco is pursuing a linear TV project, the technology choice currently between Ericsson and existing providers Motorola.
The BT Vision customer base grew to 467,000 at March 31, 2010 with the average number of subscription views per month per subscriber increasing by 37% over last year to 40.