Nebraska-based Hamilton Telecommunications were facing a competitive squeeze from satellite providers. Saddled with an inefficient traditional cable plant, Hamilton could not compete with the immaculate picture quality of satellite offerings. With customer churn steadily increasing and competitive threats gaining traction, Hamilton knew they had to take action.
“Satellite providers were taking our traditional cable business away because we didn’t have enough pipe to deliver any high-def channels. Everybody wants the crystal-clear quality of HD so we had to find a way to provide it—or we would lose market share,” said Mark Sellers, Network Administrator, Hamilton Telecommunications.
Unable to deliver the programming that customers were demanding, Hamilton decided to pursue an IPTV strategy. In a joint collaboration with Mid-State Community TV, Inc., Hamilton became one of the first companies in Nebraska to offer digital TV technology with their launch of Cobalt TV in March 2014.
After evaluating video delivery equipment vendors, Hamilton concurred with the recommendation of their supplier Goldfield Telecom and chose Inca Networks to provide the gear for their updated headend. Today, Hamilton use the Inca Receiver 3300 to demultiplex, process, and output all SD and HD channels as IP single program transport streams (SPTS) for delivery across their fiber ring and DSL infrastructure. They have also deployed the Inca Transcoder 2460 to affordably optimize the format, resolution, and bit rate of the streams. The Inca gear works seamlessly with Hamilton’s middleware, Amino set-top boxes.
The Inca solution enables Hamilton to offer 123 SD channels, 87 HD channels, 52 movie channels, and 50 music channels to approximately 5,000 households in the communities and surrounding areas of Hamilton County in southeastern Nebraska. After only two months, approximately one third of Hamilton’s traditional cable customers have converted to Cobalt TV and new customers are continuing to subscribe as word spreads about the quality and reliability of the service.
“We are particularly excited that for the first time we are able to offer television service to all the rural areas surrounding these communities. And the customers think the quality is amazing,” said Mark.
Video is a very competitive market with low margins. A cost-effective and efficient headend is an integral part of Hamilton’s successful video delivery strategy, enabling them to boost their bottom line through increased take-up and reduced labour and training costs.
Mark said, “Inca has the best bang for the buck. Our cost per channel is very reasonable so we’re able to price ourselves competitively against DISH and the other satellite guys. And, of course, money talks.”
In addition, operation and maintenance of a traditional cable outside plant is very labor-intensive negatively impacting the bottom line.
“Our outside plant was pretty old and it took a lot of manpower to keep it going. With the launch of our IPTV service, we were able to abandon traditional cable and reap a huge cost savings. And because the Inca system is extremely easy to configure and use—I never even read the manual! —I can operate very cost-effectively as a one-man show,” said Mark.
Subscribers expect consistent, high-quality service with no interruptions or downtime. Inca’s reliable and easy-to-use video delivery solution is helping Hamilton meet their customers’ expectations.
Mark said, “We’ve been running local channels on our trial Inca Receiver 3300 unit for over a year now without a hiccup. I haven’t even had to look at it since I installed it. Talk about maintenance-free! The reliability of Inca products is second to none.”
Inca takes pride in consistently delighting customers, and their customers in turn. Going above and beyond, the Inca team works collaboratively with operators to build the optimal Intelligent Video Delivery solution that best satisfies the demands of their unique market, environment, and customer base.
“Tech support is one of the first things I look at when evaluating a company —and it’s been really great with Inca. Having come over from the Internet side, I was brand new to the television business. Inca were willing to spend a little extra time with me to point me in the right direction for all aspects of my system – even for products like encryption that are not part of their product line,” Mark said.
He added, “Inca offers a reliable, affordable, easy-to-use solution with exceptional support. I would definitely recommend them.”