Tiscali Italian IPTV Gets Zapped; Could UK Be Next?

Beleaguered Internet Service Provider Tiscali will close down its Italian IPTV service Tiscali by the end of the year in a letter that was sent to its existing subscribers.

Although it failed to provide with any reasons why its service was terminated so abruptly, the current economic situation, particularly in Italy, and the failed attempt to sell of its UK broadband arm might have contributed to the closure of the IPTV service.

Many are expecting that the UK service, which Tiscali incorporated when it acquired Homechoice back in August 2006, could be next in line; the Italian TV service had only 50,000 customers.

Homechoice had only 36,000 although Tiscali's UK management expected that number to increase significantly by the end of this year. Some observers say that current UK IPTV Tiscali subscribers hover around 50,000.

Tiscali promotes its TV service as part of a Triple play package which includes over 70 digital TV and radio channels plus access to more than 1000 on demand movies, 7 day catchup, up to 8mb broadband, phone line rental and anytime UK and international call for under £20.

However, it has been under intense competition from Sky, Virgin and BT which provide with a more extensive coverage; only about 946 phone exchanges are LLU-enabled according to Broadband website Samknows.com. In comparison, Talktalk has nearly 1700 phone exchanges already LLU-enabled.

Tiscali TV is not as complete as Sky's or Virgin's and faces a tough time against Freesat and Freeview, especially with the emergence of cheap Personal Video Recorders.

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Our Comments

The strong Euro is not making things easier for Tiscali which may be seeing its UK broadband arm more as a liability rather than an asset. The company has around 1.7 million broadband customers with around half being on unbundled lines.

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