Fibra TV faces an OTT migration process

Another of the panels that were developed during the last Nextv Series Mexico’s virtual edition was titled ‘New OTT / TV models for ISPs and telcos’. Some of the main topics of the debate focused on IPTV and pure OTT alternatives; associative linear and VOD OTT services; and new app TV aggregation models.

For the debate, Dataxis gathered a team of industry executives that included Carlos Arguimbau Romo, CEO at IENTC Telecomunicaciones; Jesus Luna Hidalgo, Partner / COO at Fibra TV; and Sofia Regojo, Senior Vice President, Global Sales at Kaltura.

Arguimbau reported that ‘IENTC is an ISP that has also been focusing on carrier services. Our core is based on the residential internet offer. We had a very accelerated growth in recent years, and now we have focused on serving more rural areas. We are available in the Mexican states of Queretaro and Guanajuato, and we have around 15 thousand users of residential internet services, who demand a quadruple play offer from us’. The executive has also expressed himself on the company’s video offering, and said that, to carry it out, they developed a fiber network. ‘We began to provide internet services almost 10 years ago via Wi-Fi and we currently have 5 thousand clients in that scheme, but we have tried to migrate them to fiber because high-capacity networks are needed to be able to deliver TV services. Currently, our TV offer includes 56 100% IPTV channels, all available in HD’. The executive explained that, for the distribution of the service, IENTC uses ‘an American solution that allows us to have both unicast and multicast in our network to be able to provide services in multiplatform mode (including Roku, Apple TV and Fire TV), and, in addition , we have an Android TV STB exclusively for customers who do not have access to this type of devices‘.

‘Fibra TV has been in the market for six years, and operates in Queretaro and Chihuahua, Mexico. We offer triple play services. The network is 100% GPON. In addition to triple play, we are implementing an OTT service. We have IPTV implemented and we are in the process of migrating to OTT’.

In relation to the process of evolution that cloud-based TV operations have experienced in recent years, and the concerns about not being able to offer a carrier-grade level service over the internet, Regojo assured that ‘what we are noticing is that operators are equating going to the cloud. This equation takes place because having local deployments is very expensive and, another thing that also happens with on-premise solutions is that when you want to implement new developments or something that is fast on the market, it is much more difficult. By moving all this to the cloud, greater flexibility is achieved when making deployments, and, if you want to have more capabilities in OTT and IPTV solutions, that is also faster to implement’. The executive also explained that one of the reasons for the greater speed is that ‘the product that we offer in Kaltura to clients in a cloud solution is a SaaS product, with which we are having updates on our platform, and then each client can take advantage to make this feature available in their service, or not. That allows for much greater agility than in local deployment services’.

‘It is possible to have an offering in the cloud with reasonable costs’, said Regojo. ‘In the reports we have made, when we compare between on-premise solutions and cloud solutions, in the long term, cloud solutions are 30% cheaper’, she added.

Arguimbau assured that ‘the only competitive advantage that we have as small operators is to always prioritize our customers. The deficiencies of large operators in our market open the doors to a great advantage. As small operators, we must understand the business logic of the big ones, to also understand which markets are left unprotected, and be able to serve them’. The executive also reported that ‘the legal issue with content providers is something terrible. We all would like to have an OTT where it is possible to watch live TV, but the legal issue with content providers makes it very difficult. We already have applications of our OTT available for iPhone and Android, but clients must be within the IENTC network, for legal reasons’.

Regarding the possibility that a small operator can integrate third-party OTTs, the executive assured that ‘as an operator, we always want to have what the large operators have. At some point we thought of buying Netflix prepaid cards to give them to our users, but finally we did not. We believe that it is better to compete with prices or quality of service and attention, and that it is the client who hires their own services independently. The residential market that consumes TV and OTTs represents 20% of our income at most’.

Likewise, with regard to the opportunities that open up for operators with the aggregation of OTTs, Regojo expressed that ‘what we see happening in Latin America and other parts of the world is that operators are trying to go towards aggregation, and add Netflix, Disney+ , Amazon Prime Video, and others. We see a more or less generic direction of all to try to do it. The great advantage that this has from the user’s point of view is that it manages to have all the applications on its TV service. And that is a great advantage for clients’. The executive also reported that ‘large content providers only negotiate with TV operators that have a high dimension, and that makes it difficult for small operators to have those services. Small operators have a much greater interest than large operators in having a quality service, but if the Netflix of this world do not want to negotiate with smaller operators, it is a situation practically without solution’.