Sprint Links With Lamont For TV Content Venture

Jul 14, 2003  •  Post A Comment

The telecommunications sector is taking another stab at providing video services to households.
Telecommunications giant Sprint has tapped Lamont Digital Systems to supply television content to a new development being built in Orlando, Fla., in what a Sprint spokesman said is the company’s attempt to beat the cable operators at their own game.
The deal, whose financial terms were not disclosed, has Sprint installing fiber technology in the hotels, offices and up to 4,500 homes that will make up the development, named Reunion. Sprint will provide high-speed Internet access and telephony services, while Greenwich, Conn.-based Lamont will provide video content.
“This is a model we hope to replicate,” said Scott Stoffel, a Sprint spokesman. He added that the company is exploring rolling out similar triple-play packages (voice, data and video) in other areas where the company provides local telephone service, including Las Vegas.
For Lamont Digital, which provides television content to universities such as Penn State and the University of California at Los Angeles, as well as to new housing developments, the Sprint deal comes on the heels of a similar content deal with Verizon Communications to supply television services to a Virginia housing development. Lamont operates the headend, downlinking cable and broadcast networks selected by the property’s developer.
Ned Lamont, president of Lamont Digital, said such deals will become more frequent as telecommunications companies look to beat back cable operators who are aggressively moving into voice and data services, which traditionally have been the turf of telecoms.
“The phone company can’t have just two legs of the stool,” Mr. Lamont said.
Indeed, the stakes are high for companies such as Overland Park, Kan.-based Sprint. Telecoms have made several attempts to provide video services to customers, only to stall because technology limited their ability to deliver large chunks of data over typical telephone wires.
However, with many telecoms having upgraded their networks, those delivery issues are being overcome, said Gary Arlen, president of Arlen Communications, a Bethesda, Md.-based converging media consulting firm.
“Telcos hope to get a boost from personal video recording and video-on-demand,” Mr. Arlen said, adding that Sprint’s initiative in Orlando represents “small steps before the grand leap into video.”