Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma-Based Pioneer Telecom Provider Succeeds at Video Delivery over Copper Lines

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma-Based Pioneer Telecom Provider Succeeds at Video Delivery over Copper Lines

Article excerpt

The superhighway is about to run through the Red River Valley.

Residents there are about to get a technology package that rural areas in some parts of the country would envy: a single service provider for telephone, high-speed Internet access and digital television.

The twist is that it's not cable. Nor does it involve an SBC/ Dish Network partnership. All three services will be provided by the Pioneer Telephone Cooperative and all will be delivered over existing telephone lines.

About one-third of Pioneer's 72 western Oklahoma exchanges already have the service bundle available; the Red River area will have it next month and all of Pioneer's customers will have access by year's end.

The system doesn't require fiber-optic connections or a satellite dish on the roof. The acceptance of an improved DSL system - called ADSL2+ - late last year and a piece of hardware made by Calix in northern California have pumped up the bandwidth capability of old- fashioned copper wire.

The technology several years ago just wasn't there to provide the high rate of data needed to provide the television service, said Steven Copeland, Pioneer's president. In a real-world environment, we can get 19 megabits-21 megabits across that copper pair. The technology has just evolved in the past few years.

It's enough to provide 166 channels of television to three separate receivers tuned to different programs in addition to digital telephone and high-speed Internet service. In most of Pioneer's markets, small, independent cable providers offer fewer than two dozen channels. The company expects to compete for television customers with Dish Network and DirecTV.

When we're finished with our build-out, we'll have over 33,000 homes with our IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) service, said Copeland.

He estimated that Pioneer would initially be able to sell bundled services to 25 to 30 percent of those households.

As our product matures, we hope to be able to get more market share, he said.

There are some limitations. High-definition television isn't yet available, and on-demand viewing won't be available until April or May.

But what Pioneer and other independent telecommunications companies like them can do that the industry giants can't is get the service delivered to all their customers. …

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