Woosh in internet television deal with Sky TV

MUMBAI: New Zealand based wireless telecommunications operator Woosh has enterted into a deal with New Zealand's main pay-television operator Sky Television to deliver channels straight to subscribers online.

As part of the deal, Woosh has secured rights over 2.3GHz spectrum owned by Sky. The two companies have combined the spectrum rights they own to provide TV, voice and broadband over the airwaves.

Commenting on the deal, Woosh chairman Rod Inglis says, “This is the next step in our evolving business strategy as Woosh moves to being a fully convergent kiwi telecommunications services company. Wimax will inevitably be part of any full service telecommunications business. Securing Sky as our pay TV content partner is a major boost for Woosh especially as we start to move towards Internet Television or IPTV."

Woosh already has spectrum rights and arrangements with other rights holders to give it the capacity to deliver the fast evolving full suite of Wimax services, according to an official release.

Inglis says “You need at least 50MHz of spectrum to be confident you can match up to the future demands that will emerge with Wimax deployment in New Zealand.”

Wimax is a broadband wireless standard, often called Wifi on Steroids, initially promoted by Intel and now adopted by many of the worlds’ leading wireless technology vendors.

Sky Television chief executive John Fellet says, “Sky believes there is an exciting future in delivering content services over Wimax. Woosh has emerged as one the nation’s leaders in broadband wireless and we look forward to working together. We support Woosh’s view that normal spectrum renewal rights be granted to enable rapid deployment of Wimax services.’

Inglis advises that Woosh investors are committed to a substantial build out using the spectrum.

Partnerships with third party platform providers such as Woosh form an integral part of Sky’s strategy to deliver to consumers “what they want, when they want it, on any device.

In the United States, satellite TV operator DirecTV has announced US$2B to support a broadband wireless rollout offering phone, broadband and pay TV services. This follows similar major announcements by SprintNextel and Clearwire in the USA totalling billions of dollars. Intel, Motorola and Craig McCraw, a billionaire wireless pioneer, are funding the Clearwire deployment.

In Australia, the satellite TV operator Austar has announced a widespread WiMax rollout to complement its pay TV services and a similar offering from Unwired in Australia’s urban areas.

Under New Zealand’s progressive spectrum management regime Woosh has been able to conclude deals with Telecom and Sky; spectrum in the 2.3 GHz band (a Wimax standard) has been consolidated and reconfigured so that it can provide broadband services using the Wimax technology that is now becoming available.

Woosh intends continuing with its current UMTS standard TDD network which operates in the 2.0 GHz band. WiMax will be an overlay in the network, as said in the press statement.

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