The rumours of UK incumbent teleco BT considering a broadband-delivered video service have been circulating again.
It is often said that you can tell if it is an odd or even numbered month by seeing if BT is saying it is launching a broadband service or not.
The latest rumours are that BT would work with Sky. BT has been getting cosy with Sky over many years. It started when Sky wanted to ensure a return path from their Set Top Boxes (STB’s) and had BT install a phone line specifically for this purpose each time a new Sky customer signed up. This relationship continued to grew to include BT offering their customers pricing bundles.
It has been known for some time that BT has been in discussions with makers of Freeview boxes. They are exploring the idea of combining this with downloaded content, distributed to the consumer via broadband.
ZDNet UK reports a currently running 100-household trial with London-based BT employees. They proffer the commercial rollout could be achieved as early as Summer 2005.
There are two broadband-TV services in the UK; HomeChoice, with operates in London; and KIT running in Kingston-upon-Hull. Both have been delivering service for many years over their own networks.
There is a fly in ointment. One of the major problems with delivering broadcast-quality video to households was introduced by BT when, while trumpeting their price reductions, they set limits on the amount of data that could be downloaded in a month. With video being the most data hungry application, this could preclude the delivery of video to the home without an additional charge being incurred. Unless of course BT lift those limits for their own video service …