Iowa independent telco Alpine Communications has converted more than 70% of its video subscribers to the IPTV middleware solution from Innovative Systems, APMAX, in an effort to roll out high-value apps alongside linear content.
Alpine Communications general manager, Chris Hopp, cited the importance of making local weather a priority for video customers as one of the drivers to make the switch, saying that people like the ability to push a button on their remote to get animated radar, forecasts and conditions for their area.
"As we started converting over to the APMAX middleware, it became apparent that the thing our customers liked the best was the Weather App." The Weather App is part of the Weather Plus service that runs exclusively on APMAX. Telcos can use Weather Plus for their voice customers to call into a weather number for updates, and will at the same time provide conditions, forecasts and animated radar for their IPTV customers.
The middleware also allows subscribers to manage APMAX Voicemail from a TV using the remote.
With over 5,000 subscriber lines, the north-eastern Iowa telco offers fibre-to-the-home, high-speed Internet, monitored security systems, computer networking, digital FusionTV, wireless phone service, telephone systems (local and long distance) and voice messaging to a number of small communities and rural areas. Alpine's Fusion Network was the first fibre optic network in Iowa certified by the FTTH Council.
Alpine is a good example of how the rural telcos that connected the country in the early to mid- 20th Century have evolved from providing universal phone service to farms and ranches (often their only link to civilisation) to piping in TV and the critical broadband required for modernisation and economic growth. This operator segment is often ironically ahead of the innovation curve compared to large cablecos and nationwide pay-TV providers.