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Winter is coming: BT looks to disrupt content streaming


BT is the first operator to use a new service from Cisco designed to improve the performance of video streaming as we huddle round our screens.

As we head for winter and the possibility of more lockdowns, BT is the first operator to deploy edge-based, open caching as a service created by Cisco, Qwilt and Digital Alpha.

The big deal here is the technology promises to give the operator much better control over the content’s flow to provide consistent, high quality service to consumers.

It is expected that video streaming will account some 82% of all consumer internet traffic by 2022, with 4K the norm and 8K on the horizon. The tech will be complemented by additional terabits of capacity added to BT’s network.

New era of content delivery

Cisco’s press statement says, “performance requirements are accelerating the shift away from traditional content delivery models, opening up the opportunity for service providers to use their edge assets to deploy their own distributed [content delivery network – CDN] capabilities and become more active participants in the streaming media delivery value chain.”

It explains that open caching, an architecture developed and endorsed by the Streaming Video Alliance (who knew?). The platform federates content delivery infrastructure deep inside service providers’ networks [creating] a global CDN with open APIs for content publishers.

“It is designed to help service providers easily deploy an edge CDN footprint, offering them more control over content flows. It also caters to the needs of global and regional content providers for more capacity, consistency in content delivery and performance assurance.”

Premium quality

Neil McRae, Chief Architect, Managing Director for Architecture and Technology Strategy at BT, said, “Our mission at BT is to ensure our customers have the best experience every time and with record levels of streaming we needed to disrupt the status quo.

Qwilt’s pioneering open caching platform together with Cisco’s cloud infrastructure gives BT the first 5G MEC capability in the UK to deliver premium quality video and on demand services.”

It is not yet clear if it will be priced at a premium.