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Inuk Networks completes £9.5mn round

June 5, - Inuk Networks, a UK triple-play provider with an initial focus on the student market, has completed a second round of funding worth 9.5mn led by UK broadcaster S4C and venture capital firm Wesley Clover, which will be used to further develop its Freewire triple-play platform and expand into Ireland and North America. Inuk CEO Marcus Liassides revealed in a conference call with ipTV News that the company has trials already in place with "some of the largest" operators in Ireland, the US and Canada, in which the company is following its established method of targeting the student market before expanding into the residential market. "This strategy raises the interest of telcos and carriers hugely", he added. Inuk Networks already serves around 50,000 students in the UK with its Freewire IPTV service, delivered over the JANET higher-education network, and aims to retain current users when they move into residential accommodation in their second year, as well as target new customers, through a tie-up with Cable & Wireless to offer residential services in the UK. Mr. Liassides stated that the company is in the final phase of testing with Cable & Wireless to offer a residential service nationwide, is already taking orders for the service and will launch at the end of this year or beginning of next. The company is also expanding the Freewire channel line-up in anticipation of this launch to "way beyond" 100 channels with the intention of offering a broader range of content to the residential market, including family, entertainment and sports programming. "This is an exciting time for Inuk, with our Freewire service already available in over 100,000 student rooms in the UK and growing fast," said Mr. Liassides. "S4C and Wesley Clover are providing the means to allow Inuk to further enhance our technology platform and to continue to redefine the way people watch TV." Iona Jones, Chief Executive of S4C and Chair of S4CDM, a commercial subsidiary of S4C, will be joining the Inuk board of directors, along with David Sanders, a Director of S4CDM. Ms. Jones commented: "This investment represents a coming together of S4C's commercial ambitions and our understanding as a broadcaster of the importance of new methods of delivering content to consumers. We believe that Freewire is a compelling proposition and has the potential to become a mainstream digital television platform."

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