Thursday, August 11, 2011

Australia's NBN Details its Multicast Video Capabilities

Australia's NBN Co published more detail on the video capabilities of the nation's national fibre network and announced rebates for helping retail service providers to get up and running on its wholesale infrastructure.

Plans call for a robust multicast video feature for carrying video content as a single stream as far into the network as possible before replicating this content for consumers. This multicast product feature aims to deliver backhaul savings, compared to delivery via multiple unicast streams, and brings opportunities for innovative video and interactive content across the NBN.

For retail service providers, NBN Co is pricing the Multicast Access Virtual Circuit at $5 per month for the first 20Mbps allocation and it can be ordered in additional increments. To provide a multicast service, a service provider will also need to purchase a Multicast Domain starting at $250 per month per 100Mbps at each point of interconnect they serve.

While the multicast feature will initially be available on the fibre access network, NBN Co also said it may offer multicast over the wireless and satellite access networks in the future.

NBN Co Head of Product Development and Sales, Jim Hassell said:

"Multicast will be available as an add-on feature to our fibre offering giving service providers the opportunity to introduce very attractive and competitive triple-play voice, broadband and video content to any of their fibre-based customers. It is designed to assist retail service providers to offer new more specialist content such as non-English speaking channels, high-definition TV, 3DTV, interactive services and social TV – efficiently and cost-effectively.

"This should give consumers more choice and freedom to select the content they want, and it should encourage the development and production of new content by creating a more diverse market of service providers who want to purchase content to broadcast.
"We are already starting to see some of our largest electronic retailers marketing 'smart', internet-connected TVs. Our multicast feature will enable the full potential of these types of devices to emerge and to possibly speed the adoption of the new technology."

As for the steps to lower the launch barrier for retail service providers, NBN Co. plans to rebate the wholesale charge for the first 150Mbps per month on its Connectivity Virtual Circuit (CVC) until there are 30,000 premises passed in a connectivity serving area, which connects to a point of interconnect (PoI). Service providers will be able to connect to the National Broadband Network through 121 points of interconnect, with each point servicing between 50,000 and 162,000 premises.

Service providers will still pay the same access charges, which start at $24 per month for a wholesale broadband service designed to achieve 12/1Mbps. However the CVC, which reflects the size of the "pipe" needed to meet the aggregate data usage of consumers, will be rebated to assist a smoother transition to fibre services for service providers.

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