Monday, November 5, 2007

Level 3 Adds Streaming to Global CDN Service

Level 3 Communications has expanded its global content delivery network (CDN) portfolio to include streaming services. The new streaming service, which builds on the company's CDN download and caching services, enables content providers to distribute rich media content from a global network of streaming servers. Level 3 plans to support all of the leading streaming media formats for live and on-demand viewing including Microsoft Windows Media, video for Adobe Flash Player, Real Player, QuickTime, and the Move Media Player.

Level 3 currently has 700 Gbps of CDN capacity and the company expects this capacity to exceed one terabit per second by the end of the first quarter of 2008, less than one year after launching CDN services.

Level 3 said third party research firms ranks its network number one in terms of connectivity, based on having the fewest average hops or connections to any given IP address in the world. When combined with its direct Internet connectivity to the largest broadband providers in North America, Level 3 said it can facilitate the shortest route to 75 percent of "eyeballs" in the United States.

In addition, Level 3 said the strategic cost advantage of operating its own network enables it to provide consistent pricing for CDN services.

Level 3 plans to complete the full integration of the video management platform it acquired as part of its acquisition of Servecast in the first quarter of 2008.

Separately, Level 3's Content Markets Group announced a strategic relationship with Move Networks that will enable Level 3 to distribute Move's Media Services, and will enable integration of Move's technology into Level 3's content delivery infrastructure.

Level 3's Vyvx broadcast services introduced HD transport in 2004 and currently more than 60 percent of all television programs that Level 3 transports across its network are HD. Level 3 said it will now be offering true streaming in HD thanks in part to a caching service that already is capable of enabling high quality downloads of large files. Streaming enables users to click and start watching immediately without the delay associated with a download. Level 3's solution will be a remedy to the well-known problems associated with streaming at high bit rates over TCP networks. Move's technology opens up multiple simultaneous streams, precluding the need for distributing servers to thousands of locations and eliminates user perception of interruption.

Additionally, Level 3's Move-enabled streams will dynamically adapt to changing network and end- user computer conditions. If bandwidth availability is constrained for any reason, or if computing power is limited, the Level 3 stream will reduce its bit rate automatically, without buffering.

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