Australian
IPTV provider ReelTime Media has been awarded a carrier licence, the
first of its kind under the newly created Entertainment Services
category. According to ReelTime and the Australian Communications and
Media Authority, ReelTime is the first pure play IPTV or video on
demand provider to apply for a carrier licence.

ReelTime, which
is majority owned by Australian unlisted public company, Movies Online,
claims that it is well placed to be Australia’s first national IPTV
operator. It has already secured deals with major Hollywood and niche
studios for distribution of commercial content over broadband networks
to TV sets via a set top box and PC.

ReelTime MD John Karantzis
said the freshly minted carrier was on track to meet its target of an
early July commercial IPTV launch which will feature a staggered
deployment to metropolitan cities initially. ReelTime has already
secured access agreements with Telstra for unmetered national network
access, DSL access, SMS/MMS bulk access and exchange/co-location access.

Last
month the carrier executed a peering agreement with PIPE Networks which
allows the customers of over 80 ISPs connected to PIPE access to the
ReelTime service. It also affords ReelTime with PoPs in PIPE’s national
telehousing facilities. Krantzis said the company intends to utilise
the licence to support its IPTV strategy to further facilitate
interconnect agreements with other carriers, “with the objective of
reducing its operational costs and dependency on other carriers, and
further increasing its reach to almost all of the 2.85 million
broadband connected Australians.”

Content agreements have also
been solidified for residential IPTV and PC services including deals
with 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures, including Columbia Pictures,
TriStar, Screengems, Sony Classics, United Artists, MGM, Hopscotch,
Granada, Palace, Playboy TV, Beckers/Dendy, IFM, ScreenTime,
Streetsmart & Echelon.

Krantzis confirmed that discussions
were currently underway with the top 20 carriers and service providers
for further network access relationships. “It makes a lot of sense for
us to work with ISPs and we are absolutely looking for broadband
partners,” he said. It is understood that ReelTime is currently
negotiating a contract execution with Silk Telecom for access to its
network across South Australia and Victoria.

Peter Fray

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