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Rogers, Comcast partner for next-gen IPTV

In a move that sees it abandon its in-house IPTV product development, Canadian communications and media company Rogers Communications has agreed a long-term strategic partnership with US cable MSO Comcast to bring Rogers customers a best-in-class video experience by deploying Comcast’s X1 IP-based video platform. This agreement builds on Rogers’ Internet leadership and furthers its strategy to deliver all-IP services in the home.

“This partnership is great news for our customers,” said Alan Horn, Chairman and interim CEO, Rogers Communications. “We’re bringing our customers a world-class IPTV service with the most advanced features available in the market today. On top of that, our customers will be future-proofed thanks to Comcast’s innovative and robust product roadmap.”

Earlier in 2016, Rogers became the first major company in Canada to offer gigabit Internet service to all of its customers. Its new IPTV service will ride on this advanced Internet network.

Rogers expects to launch the service in early 2018. In the interim, Rogers customers will continue to see further enhancements throughout the year to the existing TV platform, including more 4K content and 4K PVR. Rogers expects to see continued positive trajectory in its cable business driven by the strength of what it describes as its “superior” Internet service.

“We’ve seen growing desire of other operators to leverage the industry-leading innovations we’ve created at Comcast,” said Neil Smit, President and Chief Executive Officer, Comcast Cable. “Comcast is excited to bring the experiences of the award-winning X1 platform to Rogers’ customers in Canada.”

Rogers decided to move to a hosted platform to ensure it has access to the scale and technical roadmap needed to meet the ongoing pace of IPTV innovation. In addition, Rogers customers will benefit from the substantial research and development investments Comcast has made to date and the company’s continuing commitment to innovation. As a result, Rogers will discontinue any further investment in the IPTV product it was developing and expects to take a pre-tax non-cash asset impairment charge in the range of C$475-$525 million in its fourth quarter ending December 31, 2016.

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