20 FEBRUARY 2002

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Melita Cable considering moving into fixed line market

By David Lindsay

Melita Cable has a distinct vision for the liberalisation of the telecommunications sector at the beginning of next year and it hasn’t ruled out venturing into Malta’s hitherto monopolised fixed line market.
Interviewed by The Malta Financial and Business Times this week (see pages 10 and 11), Joe Spiteri, Melita Cable’s Head of Strategic Planning and Development for Technology spelt out the company’s ‘triple play’ strategy, although the technology required for it is still under development.
Speaking on the telecom sector’s pending liberalisation, Spiteri said that the company would be looking to capitalise on the development, as he explains, "To this end, what we have as a strategy is what is known as a triple play – entertainment, data and telephony coming in via one cable. At present we are investigating Voice over IP, an emerging technology readily adaptable to our system."

As such, Malta’s cable television carrier would be in a position to provide through one box, cable television, cable Internet and fixed line telephony. The idea, Spiteri explains, is technically feasible, as at the end of the day all data is represented digitally.
This ‘gateway’ vision, having an entire household’s communications needs being served by one cable and one box, has long been the dream of communications experts.
Providing further details on the technical considerations, Spiteri says, "Consumers won’t need a box in each and every room of the house, as there are a number of ways in which data can be distributed.
"One means of home distribution is called the power line network, by which you plug in a box into the power supply, which provides the household with data as well as electricity. There is a great deal of research in that field at the moment.
"There is also a means of wireless distribution. I have seen a portable tablet with a minute antenna, which provides one with television, data, communications, a PDA, a telephone line and many other peripherals. The technology is definitely there - what was imagined a few years ago is now today’s reality. The rate of progress in technology is squaring itself every couple of years.
"However, I should be clear that we are not going to start voice in January 2003, it is a long process. But that is the direction in which technology is taking us.
"Of course, this technology is still in its initial stages and we, as Melita Cable, always ensure that when we give our customers a technology it is fully functional and proven."

Related articles:

Iinterview with Joe Spiteri

The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt