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More evidence of broadcast TV coming to Openreach fibre products
Friday 09 March 2012 09:07:26 by Andrew Ferguson

Multicast has never really taken off on the slower ADSL and ADSL2+ services, but Openreach is pushing forward with a launch of Multicast for GEA on its fibre based products. The service will have an early market deployment in April 2012, and be available to both FTTP and FTTC services, with capacity available for multicast use in 5 Mbps blocks.

Multicast is attractive to companies looking to broadcast content to a large number of connections, while avoiding having to duplicate the data many times. This makes it ideal for the transmission of live TV, race results, share prices or even file downloads that will be going to thousands of people at the same time.

IPTV services in many countries have led the demand for fibre roll-outs, and the UK is looking set to be another, with fibre offering the potential to supplement Freeview offerings, or to provide alternate feeds beyond what existing satellite services can provide. With FTTC offering up to 80 Mbps at the retail level shortly (trials are near to completion) and FTTP offering 300 Mbps this year, there is potential for fibre to be the medium of choice for video content at quality levels above the 10 to 15 Mbps that satellite TV can support.

The LLU providers who spring to mind in terms of utilising a multicast service, are TalkTalk (who own Tiscali TV aka HomeChoice) and Sky. The providers are in the position that a single feed to their LLU hardware in an exchange could then feed many customers connected to that exchange using Openreach fibre products. Tiscali TV used to be limited to 2 Mbps streams, so more capacity would boost picture quality, and Sky could offer a super HD experience with less compressed content to users of its Sky Anytime+ service.

Some commentators have commented that Openreach fibre products mean LLU is a dead in the water, but by virtue of already having your own rack space physically in an exchange means opportunities like this product are easier to exploit. In some exchanges, space is limited to the extent that once a couple of LLU providers are present, expanding to accomodate another can be very costly.

With a few months to the Olympics, one thing that has not escaped our thoughts, and that is a multicast service, with live HD feeds from five or six venues could showcase what fibre can support. For those who already find the Olympics a boring, this could also allow a more normal service to broadcast on the main channels.


Posted by AndrueC over 5 years ago
So that project is still alive and well!

I saw that in an early PowerPoint Presentation then it seemed to vanish from sight. Could be a very clever idea if it works.
Posted by craigbrass over 5 years ago
I'm not sure why you say LLU is dead, Andrew. As I understand things, Virtual LLU gives the provider unlimited capacity between the exchange and the customer. They just don't have control of the DSLAM like they used to. LLU's main advantage is the price saving on backhaul, especially when using dark fibre. This will exist even more as demand is driven up by higher speed services.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
'Some Commentators' - is very different to me saying that LLU is dead.
Posted by ian72 over 5 years ago
Surely as Anytime+ is a VoD service it is not affected by provision of multicasting? The only content that is streamed live is done via the satelite feeds and that is still potentially more efficient that even a multicast IP network.
However, broadcasting to Sky Go might be a use for the multicast service.
Posted by craigbrass over 5 years ago
@andrew: Apologies. I misread that. What are your thoughts anyway?
Posted by craigbrass over 5 years ago
@ian72: I think Sky already cache their content in exchanges they have LLUed meaning they have done what they can. Sky Go via multicast makes sense, though.
Posted by TheGuv over 5 years ago
The CDN has been in development for a while now - I assume the shift towards a Wholesale product is to add "incentive" to ISPs that they can "rent access" to the CDN or develop their own TV service.

Either way - Wholesale access increases the potential customer base significantly whilst reducing the distribution costs (cheaper than Sat/Freeview transmissions).
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 5 years ago
LLU as a backhaul option certainly has a large part to play, and private networks without the regulations and micro-costing tiers of the BT Group are pretty much always going to be cheaper.

LLU ADSL2+ will be a larger foot print than FTTC for another two years, and even with all the BDUK projects done
Posted by zyborg47 over 5 years ago
There will still be plenty of people who won't be able to get fibre, so if LLU is available for them they will still be using it and what about people who stays on ADSL and not that bothered about fibre?
Posted by louisbritt over 5 years ago
Very true said by @zyborg47...We need to look further.
<a href="">telephone and broadband packages</a>
Posted by uniquename over 5 years ago
It seems Helston is in the vanguard.

"Furthermore your exchange has been enabled for multicast services, please contact your provider for further details."
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