BT plugs in Internet TV

Telco to use Microsoft's IPTV software platform

LONDON — Telco BT Group plans to launch TV over high-speed Internet connections next summer as it seeks new revenue to make up for a decline in its fixed-line phone business.

BT Tuesday unveiled an agreement with Microsoft Corp. to use the software giant’s Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) software platform to deliver content over broadband connections.

The former monopoly, which is increasingly dependent on high-speed Internet and business computing to counter a declining voice calls business, said it would try out its new service early next year, with the commercial launch expected in the summer.

“TV over broadband services will play an important role in BT’s triple-play offering for consumers,” said Gavin Patterson, group managing director of BT Retail, BT’s consumer arm.

Triple-play, offering voice calls, high-speed Internet and television over the same connection, has largely been the preserve of cable companies such as NTL and Telewest in the U.K.

BT is among several European telcos that have launched triple-play services, including Swisscom, Belgium’s Belgacom and France Telecom. BT is in the middle of an $18 billion upgrade.

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