From Sotires Eleftheriou in Paris
Two years after launching its broadband service, which now has 428,000 subscribers, Bouygues Telecom is to carry out a major software upgrade before the end of the summer to its modem and set-top-box combination called Bbox. Bbox costs E29.90 per month, providing up to 20 MB broadband, around 100 IPTV channels and unlimited landline VOIP calls to 100 destinations.
Bouygues Telecom is the number three mobile telephone operator in France and part of the Bouygues construction group that also owns TF1. The new Bbox software will be based on the Linux operating and incorporate a range of new features as well as even more fluid navigation, which is already claimed to be the fastest on the market according to Bouygues' head of marketing Frederic Ruciak. Further upgrades to transform the box into a fully-fledged media centre will be deployed before the end of the year.
As for the delay in deploying such features compared to other French IPTV operators, Ruciak said that it was important that the system should be easy to operate out of the box by non-technically inclined users, which is sometimes far from the case with the competition. The operator is also providing support for new subscribers to switch operator, including paying any termination penalty (up to E90).
Bouygues is also about to launch a new mobile package available only to Bbox subscribers: unlimited 24×24 mobile calls to any operator for E69.90 a month, making the total bundle E99.80 a month, which Ruciak fully expects to cause a stir in the mobile phone market.