NRTC and NTCA Sign Agreement for IPTV Project: Rural Telecommunications Organizations Plan to Launch Service in 2006

Herndon, Va. - The National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC) and the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA) have entered into a long-term agreement to promote Internet protocol television (IPTV) in rural communities. Working with SES AMERICOM, NRTC and NTCA plan to launch service in 2006.

Under the agreement, NTCA will make a significant equity investment in NRTC’s current IPTV NTCA CEO Michael E. Brunner with NRTC President and CEO Bob Phillipsproject, now in the planning stages. At the same time, NRTC and NTCA will coordinate efforts to promote IPTV as an ideal solution for rural telephone companies entering the video business. For telcos already in the business, the new venture will offer MPEG-4/IPTV-based program packages to enhance their current offerings.

Earlier this year, NRTC entered an agreement with SES AMERICOM to assist with field testing of the SES IP-PRIME platform. IP-PRIME is a satellite-delivered IP/MPEG-4 video distribution system that will allow rural telephone companies throughout the country to distribute IPTV to their service areas. The transport service will deliver standard and high-definition television programming as well as video on demand without requiring significant costs for headend equipment.

"By providing secured program licensing agreements, volume discounts on equipment, and an 80 to 90 percent savings on associated infrastructure costs, the NRTC/SES/NTCA alliance will allow rural telephone companies to offer the highest-quality service without paying a high price," said NRTC President and CEO Bob Phillips.

"NTCA members have been ahead of the industry curve in providing IPTV services to their customers," said NTCA Chief Executive Officer Michael E. Brunner. "This distribution plan will bring secure, quality digital programming to rural consumers, which will benefit telcos of all sizes throughout rural America."
Contact Caitlin Colligan at 703-351-2086
NTCA has sponsored several projects to keep its rural telco members ahead of the IPTV curve. It is a co-sponsor of the upcoming 4th Annual TelcoTV Conference & Expo, Nov. 8-10, 2005, at the San Diego Convention Center. TelcoTV attendees will have the opportunity to learn how NRTC, NTCA and SES AMERICOM are working together to develop IPTV for rural consumers.

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About NRTC
NRTC leads and supports more than 1,200 member organizations by delivering telecommunications solutions to strengthen member businesses, promote economic development and improve the quality of life in rural America. The rural utilities that make up NRTC offer services to more than 30 million rural households in the United States. For more information, visit www.nrtc.coop.

About NTCA
The National Telecommunications Cooperative Association is the premier association representing more than 560 locally owned and controlled telecommunications cooperatives and commercial companies throughout rural and small-town America. NTCA provides its members with legislative, regulatory and industry representation; meetings; publications and educational programs; and an array of employee benefit programs. Visit us at www.ntca.org.