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    The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) has stated that in the second quarter of 2010 (April-June) its customers will be able to purchase internet television services (IPTV).

    This service will offer digital TV service using the same broadband connection which internet users already utilize in their homes and businesses.

    Unlike traditional TV, the IPTV client only receives the programs or movies they want, so there is no need to rely on a schedule.

    This announcement was confirmed last night by Adolfo Arias, director of ICE’s services division, after the Comptroller General of the Republic endorsed a contract between the institute and the partner STI.

    The contract, amounting to $ 19.7 million, will allow this company to offer up to 100,000 IPTV connections.

    The price for this service remains defined however because, according to Arias, they must create varied packages to suit diverse clients.

    For example, they could offer only Internet TV or put together a “triple play” which includes IPTV, Internet and telephone over IP (Internet Protocol).

    In the latter package, the customer can answer text messaging or answering a call from the TV screen.

    If the client only acquires IPTV system, the user can program their TV to record shows they like and can see it when returning home. They can also select programs on international cable systems, Pay per view or video on demand.

    According to Arias, the rates should be ready by April 2010. It is unknown whether they should be approved by the Superintendency of Telecommunications (Sutel).

    What is clear is that this service requires a broadband link to the Internet with at least 2 megabits per second. Which may overtax an already unreliable system.

    For example, the ADSL2 + speed system operates at 24 megabits per second and the country has 300,000 connections, however most users in the country maintain between a 1 and 3 megabit connection which is the standard.

    Moreover, the customer must purchase a decoder (Setup box) to receive the Internet signal and transfers it to the TV which will cost between $40 and $50. According to Arias, ICE requested 40,000 units in the first purchase.

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