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New IP video service planned for Caribbean

Columbus Communications, one of the largest MSOs in the Caribbean, has started preparing to launch a new hybrid IP video service in a number of countries in the region, which will offer IP-delivered video-on-demand and TV Everywhere services.

Columbus, which provides broadband services in Trinidad, Jamaica, Grenada and Curacao under the brand name ‘FLOW’, is deploying a pre-integrated hybrid IP video platform by US firm Evolution Digital, Norway’s Conax and Polish company Cubiware, among other partners.

The platform will include HD-capable hybrid IP set-top boxes with support for Adaptive Bit Rate Technology delivering IP VOD content, and provide features like “Follow me” and “Pause live TV”. Many new features and services will be announced in the coming months, says Columbus.

The hybrid IP set-top boxes will be provided by Evolution Digital, security across all screens and DRM will be taken care of by Conax, and the middleware will come from Cubiware.

Canadian firm UXP Systems will deliver a unified User Interface experience for voice, video and data services on multiscreen devices. Sweden’s MPS Broadband has provided the content management system, US company Elemental Technologies the encoding platform, and another Canadian firm (Seawell Networks) will deliver the Content Delivery Network.

“The solution is being built in phases and Columbus Communication’s approach towards adopting open standards solution show a clear indication that the advantages of DVB Open Standards has found their way to the pay-TV platforms this side of the Atlantic,” said Rohit Mehra, VP of Americas at Conax.

Through its fully protected, ringed submarine fibre optic network spanning more than 18,000 km and its terrestrial fibre and coaxial network of 23,600 km, Columbus provides advanced telecom services to a diverse residential and corporate client base of well over 450,000 customers.

In addition to hybrid offerings like this, there have been a few launches of full managed IPTV services in the Caribbean discussed over the past year or so: the Cayman Islands are expected to get one in the fourth quarter of this year, and LIME (the Caribbean division of Cable & Wireless Communications) launched an IPTV service in Barbados last April, with expansion to follow in other islands.

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