Video-on-demand plans from Telkom

Over the last 12 months, Telkom has been actively engaging possible content partners for a streaming video service. This is according to its head of converged business services, Steven White, who was speaking on a panel at the 2012 SATNAC event hosted by Telkom in George.

Last year (2011) Telkom confirmed that it has plans to offer video-on-demand (VOD) and other “media-rich content” services with its new high speed consumer broadband product.

Since then, Telkom has launched a pilot project for its network rejuvenation programme, saying that some TelkomInternet customers will be able to trial 20Mbps and 40Mbps very-high-bitrate digital subscriber line (VDSL) services.

As part of a Telkom VDSL demo at SATNAC, Alcatel-Lucent is showing 720p streaming media over a Boxee device, using Vudu as the content provider.

In an interview with MyBroadband, White said that they aren’t necessarily looking at Boxee, but that they will be using a set-top box model for their VOD services, with content hosted locally.

Content will be downloaded onto the box rather than being streamed directly to accommodate ADSL subscribers with slower connections.

Steven White
Steven White

During a panel discussion, White said that putting together the service was a difficult thing to do as it is a tricky regulatory environment for Telkom and they have to pass digital rights management (DRM) audits with content providers.

White later explained that getting your hands on content is relatively simple, but securing it on behalf of your content partner is more difficult.

“DRM is something that has to be taken very seriously,” White said, adding that you risk the content partner crying foul and revoking the contract otherwise.

Asked whether Telkom’s VOD service would only be available to customers of the TelkomInternet service provider, White said that it depends on whether it resides within the retail or wholesale structure of Telkom.

“It is natural to think that an ISP that goes to this extreme to deliver a service would want some sort of exclusivity,” White said. This would allow them to differentiate their service.

However, if the VOD service were a wholesale product, then Telkom may sell access to it to ISPs, including TelkomInternet. This model was yet to be confirmed, White said.

In a light-hearted grilling during the panel discussion at SATNAC about whether Telkom’s VOD plans was a 2012 or 2013 project, White smiled and said: “I can tell you it won’t be a 2014 project.”

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Jan Vermeulen is a guest of Telkom at SATNAC 2012

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Video-on-demand plans from Telkom