11 September 2003 Paris Lightwave Europe -- France Telecom and satellite TV company TPS (owned by French TV networks TF1 and M6) have concluded a strategic agreement for the launch in December 2003 of a new digital TV service using ADSL technology on the FT network.
This new technology will enable simultaneous use of phone lines for phone calls, broadband Internet access and reception of TPS programming directly on television sets. The service, currently called "TPSL" will also deliver on-demand TV programming and interactive services.
To receive the new TPSL service, customers simply purchase a video access unit from FT and sign up for the TPS programming package of their choice. France Telecom will market on-demand programming using a kiosk model comparable to France's successful Minitel videotex system.
Commercial rollout of these new offers from France Telecom and TPS will debut in Lyon in December 2003, followed by Paris in spring 2004. The service will then progressively be introduced in other French cities. It will be available from certified outlets, including specialized distributors, major retail chain stores, installers and France Telecom sales offices.
Commenting on the launch, France Telecom Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thierry Breton said: "This agreement with TPS is a perfect example of how France Telecom pursues strategic partnerships to bring our customers concrete benefits. This major innovation takes broadband into new territory beyond the Internet and creates groundbreaking models for content distribution.
"It has become a reality thanks to the superior quality of our networks and the unique technical expertise that FT has acquired in video technologies, opening up tremendous growth potential, in particular for the fixed-line phone segment."
Emmanuel Florent, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of TPS, said: "This strategic partnership lets TPS enter an exciting new phase in our development. Currently 90 percent of TPS subscribers live in individual homes. ADSL brings TPS better access to city centers and collective housing, representing 10 million households.
"Ultimately, all French viewers - whether they live in the city or the country, in an apartment or house - will enjoy access to the TPS television offer, which includes major general-interest channels, the TPS Star premium channel, movie channels, major sports events and a vast selection of thematic channels."
FT will be in charge of technical services for delivery of TSP programming, as well as security and subscriber access rights management via its Viaccess system. TPS will manage the subscriber base. FT and TPS will announce details of the new offer in the coming weeks.