By TAN KIT HOONG
KUALA LUMPUR: Astro has tied up with Time dotCom Bhd to offer a "triple-play" service which includes Astro B.yond IPTV (Internet protocol television), broadband Internet access and telephony, in one package.
The IPTV service gives subscribers access to all regular Astro channels along with 12 high-definition channels depending on the package, as well as access to a new video-on-demand service where customers can gain access to a selection of programmes at any time.
The service is primarily aimed at so-called "multi-dwelling units," (otherwise known as condominiums and apartments) which are covered by TIME's current broadband access - namely, in the KLCC/Golden Triangle area, Mont Kiara/Sri Hartamas areas and Bangsar as well as in Georgetown on Penang island.
According to Datuk Rohana Rozhan, chief executive officer of Astro Malaysia, the IPTV service is aimed at condominiums and apartments because there are about 320,000 existing Astro customers who have been unable enjoy Astro B.yond because of installation restrictions imposed by these places.
Apart from Astro programming, the package comes with TIME's all-fibre broadband service, with a choice of 3Mbps, 6Mbps, 12Mbps and 24Mbps and range in price from RM128 to RM298.
The broadband package also comes with a telephone service with charges of 10sen a minute for local calls and, in the near future, the 10sen a minute charge will be extended to international calls to 10 selected countries.
These prices are on top of the price that the subscriber pays for the regular Astro packages.
However, Astro is providing the Astro B.yond PVR free of charge with the IPTV service.
According to Time dotCom CEO, Afzal Abdul Rahim, the IPTV service pulls in a full 100Mbps fibre optic line into the user's home, of which the user gets the subscribed broadband speeds full time, while the rest of the bandwidth is then taken up by the IPTV service.
Rohana added that while Time is the current partner for this rollout of the B.yond IPTV service, it is not the exclusive partner and Astro is "looking forward to similar partnerships" as it expands the service in the future.