Gosfield North Communications Co-operative

From Zero to Video Delivery Hero

“Gosfield North had lost forward momentum and needed a new revenue source to buoy its bottom line. As a telephone company in a rural area, we were very stagnant. In terms of growth and speed – and even population –, we were declining. What we needed to do was come up with a new service.”
- Rob Petruk

CEO, Gosfield North Communications Co-operative

Losing Momentum

One of the few remaining independent co-operative telephone companies in Canada, Gosfield North Communications Co-operative were facing sluggish revenues. Big triple-play providers were luring away customers with competitive bundled offers. Complacency was not an option. The company had lost forward momentum and needed a new revenue source to buoy their bottom line.

Rob Petruk, CEO, explains, “We needed to come up with a new service to tackle competition from triple-play providers and propel growth. Inca customized an IPTV head-end solution for Gosfield, which allowed us to compete against the local industry incumbent by offering video services and unrivalled picture quality.”

Gosfield North decided to move into the video business but were unsure which delivery model to adopt. Management was concerned about signing long-term contracts committing to pay for channels and investing in a lot of expensive equipment. After reviewing operations of other independents, they ruled out white labeling a service from one of the big providers—it was very unreasonable and unaffordable on a monthly basis for their subscriber population.

“We would have had to pay about $20,000 per month for the privilege of pulling a signal from an existing IPTV provider—plus subscriptions on top of that. No matter how I priced out the system, there was no reasonable way to charge competitive prices,” Rob says.

IPTV From the Ground Up

Instead of acquiring video streams from one of the large cable providers, Gosfield North decided to build their own IPTV solution on their DSL and Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) networks from the ground up. But coming to the table with no experience in the television business, they were unsure about the feasibility and technical logistics of building their own IPTV headend. Working collaboratively, Inca Networks assessed Gosfield North’s needs to tailor a comprehensive solution unique to their specific market, infrastructure, and objectives. Inca helped them understand the TV business, illustrated how their solution could work affordably and profitably, and supported the team through all stages of the project and beyond.

Derek Watts, Systems Engineer, says, “Inca worked with us to build the system to do exactly what we needed—the Inca solution is very user friendly with enhanced control and visibility.”

Currently, Gosfield North has four 2.4 meter dishes that point to various satellites. Large packages of variable-bit-rate and variable-size signals are received by Motorola and Sencore commercial satellite receivers and ingested into Inca transcoders. The Inca transcoders convert the data from variable bit rate to a constant bit rate and compress the MPEG-2 stream into MPEG-4 to facilitate broadcast along Gosfield North’s legacy copper plant. The video stream moves through Verimatrix encryption software and is delivered to customers’ Amino set-top boxes via Very-High-Bit-Rate Digital Subscriber Line (VDSL) over legacy copper cables and Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) using optical fiber cables. The end result is happy Gosfield North customers enjoying 170+ HD and SD video channels, plus a full tier of digital audio channels.

Rob says, “The bottom line, we’re competing against the biggest players in the country. In order to beat the competition, we needed to have a picture quality that is visually superior to make it more attractive to customers. And the system needed to be easy for our technicians to work with.”

Unrivalled Picture Quality

By building their own IPTV headend, Gosfield North can control the quality of the picture themselves, instead of relying on feeds from another provider. This differentiator helps the company maintain a competitive edge against established operators.

Rob says, “One of the compliments we hear is that people can’t believe how good the picture is compared to the big providers. They say, ‘Wow, the picture is beautiful. The picture is gorgeous’. We hear that on a regular basis. The picture quality is unbelievable and customers are so happy with the way it looks. It’s so nice that people feel inclined to tell us.”

Ease of Use

Gosfield North’s technicians value how easy it is to work with the Inca system. At the core of every Inca product is VidiOS™, an advanced processing and monitoring engine that provides deep visibility and control. Gosfield North technicians are able to analyze the signal inputs, identify problems, and restructure the stream to suit their network requirements, all from a user-friendly, web-based interface.

“The Inca solution is very user-friendly and easy to work with. We love the control and visibility it gives us over our day-to-day operations. Overall, it is a phenomenal system,” Rob notes.

Serious Cost Savings

The Inca headend solution delivers significant cost savings that reduced both capital expenditures and ongoing operating expenses for Gosfield North.

Rob explains, “Inca’s solution was approximately half the cost of the other vendors, and these cost savings enabled us to add more stations to our channel offerings.”

Rob adds, “We’re seeing our ROI come back very quickly, which is key for small companies like us that don’t have the luxury of a 10-year depreciation and amortization.”

By working with Inca to build their headend from the ground up, Gosfield North can now deliver reliable, affordable HD and SD television channels to their delighted customers as part of a competitive triple-play strategy. And with an unmatched level of support, coupled with Inca’s unique intelligent monitoring capability, Gosfield North can be assured an unprecedented level of control, visibility, and ease of use in the day-to-day operations of their television service.

CHALLENGE

  • Losing business momentum
  • Declining growth, speed, and population
  • Increasing competition from big triple-play providers

SOLUTION

  • Built IPTV headend from the ground up
  • Inca transcoders convert and compress satellite data into IP streams for delivery over VDSL and FTTH
  • Gained control over signals as they send them out over their network

RESULTS AT A GLANCE

  • Entered TV business by building IPTV headend from scratch
  • Better picture quality than big industry players
  • More than 50% cost savings over competitors’ product