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Canada’s Rogers Kills Internet TV Project, Reaches Comcast Pact for X1 System

Rogers Communications, Canada’s largest wireless and cable provider, said it is discontinuing in-house development of an internet-based TV system — and instead will use Comcast’s X1 video platform to launch a new service in 2018.

According to Rogers, it is moving to Comcast’s hosted video platform “to ensure it has access to the scale and technical road map needed to meet the ongoing pace of IPTV innovation.” As a result, the company will kill off the IPTV product it was developing and expects to take an impairment charge of between Canadian $475 million and $525 million for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 2016.

Earlier this year, Rogers became the first major Canadian ISP to offer a 1-gigabit-per-second internet service to all of its customers. The company said the forthcoming X1-based IPTV service will be delivered over the gigabit pipes. As of Sept. 30, Rogers reported 2.1 million broadband subscribers and 1.8 million TV subs.

“We’re bringing our customers a world-class IPTV service with the most advanced features available in the market today,” Rogers chairman and interim CEO Alan Horn said in a statement. “On top of that, our customers will be future-proofed thanks to Comcast’s innovative and robust product road map.”

Comcast initially launched X1 in 2012, and the system provides cloud-based DVR, an advanced guide, voice-activated remote controls, and internet apps. Last month, the operator added the ability for X1 customers to access Netflix and inked a deal to bring Dish Network’s Sling TV to the platform. The U.S. cable giant says about half its TV subs will be on X1 by the end of 2016; as of the end of September, Comcast had 22.43 million video subscribers nationwide.

“We’ve seen growing desire of other operators to leverage the industry-leading innovations we’ve created at Comcast,” said Neil Smit, president and CEO Comcast Cable.

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