ROSEVILLE, Calif. - A company that has linked more than 80,000 Northern California homes to a fiber-optic network plans to launch a TV service that relies on Internet technology to deliver programs, including high-definition shows.
Roseville-based SureWest Communications said it will be the first broadband provider in the nation to deliver commercial HD programming with the technology known as Internet Protocol.
Trials of the services were expected to get under way on Tuesday, with a full commercial rollout expected in November, said Bill DeMuth, SureWest's vice president and chief technology officer.
SureWest said it will be able to deliver 260 video and music channels to its customers — as well as voice and high-speed Internet access. Of those, 15 will be high-definition channels.
"This is more of what people are looking for from their televisions and we are excited to be at the forefront of this movement," said Bill DeMuth, SureWest's vice president and chief technology officer.
A number of telecommunications companies are in the process of extending fiber-optic networks to homes or neighborhoods. Telephone companies see high-bandwidth fiber as an opportunity to grab customers typically served by cable operators — just as cable companies are grabbing business by offering voice services over IP.
Verizon Communications Inc. has already launched a fiber-based TV service in Keller, Texas. But that system uses IP for video on demand. Regular programming, including high-definition content, relies on a more traditional technology.
Sharon Cohen-Hagar, a Verizon spokeswoman, said the company felt that IPTV needed additional development before it was deployed on a large scale.
"When IP is more mature and scalable, that's the direction we're headed in," she said.