Wanadoo, owned by France Télécom, will launch a broadband gateway for home subscribers in August, featuring a unit called Livebox.
Livebox is essentially a router, and its initial selling point will be to allow home users to set up a wireless network easily – but the box has other uses lurking inside. For example, the UK£80 (€120) box is Bluetooth enabled and will soon offer a phone service that will compete with BT’s own Bluephone.
Wanadoo will offer VoIP calls using Livebox from next year and once the local loop is unbundled then they’ll be able to offer fatter broadband pipes – and then video on demand. Subscribers will then be able to watch TV on demand on PCs around their home, wirelessly. Livebox is not a set top box, so will not be muscling in too far on Sky+ territory.
BT are still doing their “yes we are, no we’re not” dance with regards to being a broadband content provider, and have talked down their broadcasting ambitions in the last couple of weeks.