From Branislav Pekic in Rome
Croatia's second fixed-line operator, Optima Telekom, has announced plans to launch an IPTV service by the end of the first quarter of 2009.
Optima has signed a contract with Croatian company OdaÅ¡iljaÄi i Veze (OiV) for the provision of the transmission infrastructure and the digital signal compression system for the OptiTV service which will be available from day one in HDTV1 technology. Negotiations are already underway with content suppliers for the distribution of the most popular TV channels in several pay-TV packages. OptiTV should offer a total of 75 TV channels, as well as a digital recording and VOD service. The first public trials of the OptiTV service will start before the end of December with up to 3,000 users of the OptiDSL service and should last two months.
The potential market for OptiTV are the more than 600,000 ADSL connections available on 200 switchboards connected to Optima's network. In the first phase, the IPTV service will be available in 10 cities with the largest number of Optima users: Osijek, Zagreb, Split, Rijeka, VaraÅ¾din, Zadar, Slavonski Brod, Velika Gorica, Karlovac and Samobor. Besides the above-mentioned cities, the service will be gradually introduced in all other locations where Optima Telekom has its users and on which it continues to install its proprietary optical network.
Croatia's first IPTV platform T-Com MAXtv, which launched in September 2006, currently has over 100,000 subscribers.