German cableco Unitymedia, which has around 4.7 million customers in North Rhine-Westphalia and Hesse, has contracted Canadian vendor Nortel to improve and expand its existing network. Nortel will install its ‘Communications Server 2000’ IP multimedia software switch to increase the bandwidth capacity of the infrastructure, enabling downlink speeds of up to 32Mbps, twice as quick as is currently available. Unitymedia will use the upgrade to offer more residential customers triple-play voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) telephony, high speed internet and digital TV over a single connection. Most of Unitymedia’s subscriber base take only basic (analogue) cable TV services, though an increasing number are using internet (376,000), telephony (222,000) and digital TV (925,000).
Yesterday CommsUpdate reported that another regional German cableco, Kabel Baden-Wurttemberg (BW) was deploying the same Nortel upgrade to its own network. Earlier this year, rumours emerged that Kabel BW’s owner, Swedish private equity outfit EWT, was looking to merge it with Unitymedia after the latter’s current owner, BC Partners, said it would be selling up before the end of the year. Nothing more has since come to light.