» Flex-play priority one for rural telcos
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Flex-play priority one for rural telcos
By Sarah Reedy

Jun 17, 2008 12:00 AM

While the traditional concept of quad play as the bundle of voice, data, Internet and wireless offerings is often the simplest way to define it, for independent telecom service providers operating in rural markets, the flex play is usually always more important. Adding additional revenue-generating services is often the most feasible and profitable path to take, according to a panel of industry vendors speaking Monday at Telephony’s Insights conference.

In the panel session, “Is the Quad Play Your Future,” moderator Bernie Arnason, managing partner and founder of Pivot Media, asked panelists what the quad play means to their independent telco customers. The consensus was that most are more focused on their ability to take different media and features like video-on-demand, calendar and contract sharing and integrate it into one service offering.

“Quad play is a metaphor, whether its four or 12 services, it is about how to generate revenues and keep businesses going as the communications environment continues to evolve,” said Russ Sharer, vice president of marketing at access infrastructure provider Occam Networks. “The ability to add additional services drives this.”

As is the case in many rural areas, IPTV is not always an option. Offering a wireless service may not be realistic either, according to Shannon Aylesworth, sales director of major accounts at multi-service edge router company Redback Networks. “It is reflective of where AT&T, Verizon and other customers are going to get incremental revenue,” she said. “AT&T and Verizon have staked their claim in launching full broadband and going after video, gaming and interlinking with those applications.”

Diane Smith, president of rural IPTV services provider Avail Media, agreed that a rural telco’s biggest fear is that when a new customer moves into town with their wireless plan already in place, the first call they will make is to the cable company. In telco’s quest to become first of mind, it’s the broadband services that will make or break them.

“Today, anyone building a fiber-optic network with the demand you support RF technology should just go somewhere else,” Sharer added. “If cable companies want to do broadband, they will do it better than the telcos,” he said, concluding that telcos should go after high-speed broadband services.

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