Displaying items by tag: OTT

Africa needs regulatory stability for operators to grow

Written on Sunday, 01 October 2017 10:36

The main challenge facing telecom operators in Africa is competition and regulatory stability, according to Mr. Abdellatif Bouziani, CEO of telecom provider Smart East Africa Group serving Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi. Speaking to Telecom Review, Mr. Bouziani said governments in Africa have sold too many operating licenses which have forced prices down, but operating costs remain the same.

Competition is high in the African telecom market, said Mr. Bouziani. With governments selling up to 6-7 telecom operating licenses, operators are forced to lower their prices, but operating costs remain the same, so they must cut spending to survive. But by reducing spending, operators aren’t able to experience growth. When there’s less cash going into countries, big players suffer, and smaller players suffer even more, he said.

Governments in Africa are the big winners in the equation, Mr. Bouziani explained, because they generate revenue from selling the licenses and collecting taxes and fines from the operators. But that puts pressure on emerging players like Smart East Africa which began operating four years ago. Big operators are suffering because they have big costs, and smaller operators are suffering because they cannot grow.

“We have to do business differently now,” Mr. Bouziani told Telecom Review. “We cannot do it the same way we did 5-10 years ago.” Voice is no longer primary, he explained, therefore the industry needs to get closer to the OTT (over-the-top) players to benefit more from them utilizing operators’ networks. Operators need to be a part of the change rather than taking a back seat and watching it happen, he said.

Smart East Africa launched in Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi in 2014 under Industrial Promotion Services (IPS) Kenya, which in turn is part of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED). The operator was launched in the three markets to drive innovation in the market and focus more on the youth segment, Mr. Bouziani said.

AKFED is the sole for-profit agency of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) and works in partnership with international organizations and governments to stimulate the private sectors of developing economies, with the aim of generating capital for investment into long-lasting and sustainable development initiatives.

The organization is essentially a development and investment agency, Mr. Bouziani explained. AKDN holds a 51 percent stake in Smart East Africa while Timeturns, the previous owner of Smart, owns a 49 percent stake.

To stand out in the market, the company implemented an “innovation-friendly” environment to foster knowledge and new ideas. Mr. Bouziani said: “We have to take into account how much telecoms has changed with the introduction of OTT, increasing data usage and value added services. We must ask ourselves: how can we play around with all these things to come up with a business model that allows us to survive in this non-conventional industry?”

In 2014, Smart announced plans to invest US$300 million over the course of five years to expand its telecoms networks and services. The company faces stiff competition, with 17 rival operators combined across Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi. The company offers free roaming across the three countries.

Published in Interviews

Telcos and OTTs shouldn’t be subject to same rules

Written on Tuesday, 26 September 2017 12:26

It’s no secret that telecom operators have struggled against the popularity of over-the-top (OTT) applications like WhatsApp and Skype, who have challenged traditional voice and SMS revenue streams. Some operators have called for regulators to subject OTTs to legacy telecommunications regulations in order to even the playing field. But such suggestions are misguided, according to the ITU.

Telecom operators are stuck in a predicament regarding OTT services who utilize their networks. They have little control over the growth of OTTs because users should be free to use the internet as they please. The network carrier only carries the IP packets from source to destination. They might be aware of the packets and their contents, but cannot do much about it. Carriers have had to roll with the punches and figure out how to adapt.

Ultimately, using VoIP (voice-over-IP) is a cheaper alternative to making expensive phone calls because the user doesn’t have to pay to use the dedicated phone line and instead utilizes an internet connection without any extra costs. As is the case with most VoIP services, calls made using the internet are often free while calls made to a cellular network require a payment. The advanced communication functions of modern smartphones have played a role in the rapid growth of OTT services.

The question is: what can network carriers do about it? Telecom carriers have lost hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue to VoIP services, statistics show. Some network carriers reacted, of course, by imposing restrictions on VoIP services. AT&T did this when Apple released its iPhone and the US telecom operator didn’t want its network being used for VoIP calling. AT&T lifted the block in 2009 after pressure from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

AT&T had an agreement with Apple to ban apps that would enable iPhone users to make phone calls using a wireless data connection. The scandal was revealed when the FCC requested that the companies explain why Google’s Voice app was rejected for the iPhone app store. The FCC was led to investigate if AT&T and Apple were colluding to prevent competition, sparking the beginning of a sour relationship between telecom providers and OTTs.

Can telcos come out on top?

For decades, telecom operators had free reign to charge rates for voice, data and SMS largely in excess of their marginal cost, which created a market ripe with innovation. The International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU) recent report ‘The State of Broadband 2017’ highlights the struggle telecom operators have faced since that period began to wane, as online applications became increasingly popular with consumers around the world who wished to interact in ways not possible through traditional communications channels.

Communication has been transformed by the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Skype, WeChat, Google, WhatsApp and Viber. These OTT services have “transformed the way people build communities and search for information, and made valuable contributions to health, education, finance and entertainment,” ITU claims in the report. “Online applications now generate a significant proportion of the socioeconomic impact of digitization and utilization of the internet itself.”

The demand for OTT services has driven the telecom industry to a new era, and some telecom operators – in defense of their traditional revenues – have sought to “handicap” the growth of OTT players, the report suggests. It’s important to note, however, that these OTT services, however disruptive they may be, are driving demand for telecom operators’ broadband services. Without the content and services that OTTs provide, consumers would be less willing to pay operators for internet access, ITU claims.

“The operators’ complaints make as much sense as cable operators that sell access to cable channels complaining that people are watching too much TV, driving up the demand for their own services,” the report says, “Or a restaurant complaining that too many people want to eat its food driving up food costs. Operators sell access – not content – but people only want that access to use online content.”

Telecom operators, according to the report, claim they cannot invest in their networks because online OTT services have limited their ability to generate revenue. The ITU says this is “inaccurate” and “misguided”.

Some telecom operators have called upon regulators to apply the “same rules for the same service” by encouraging authorities to subject all online OTT services to legacy telecommunications regulations. ITU rejects this, emphasizing that OTTs don’t offer the “same service” as telecom operators, and that subjecting them to the same rules would be “entirely inappropriate”.

OTT services like Facebook and Google, for example, don’t provide equivalent services as telecom operators, the report points out. Operators provide access to the internet and some vertically integrated services that take advantage of, and are bundled with, general access. Online OTTs, on the other hand, provide interactive experiences for internet users that go beyond traditional voice and SMS, including payment services, chat services and photo/video sharing.

The fundamental differences between the telecom sector and online OTT services has led to the establishment of different rules, the report highlights. For instance, telecom regulations are intended to ensure that established operators – who own network infrastructure with high barriers to entry and face limited competition – do not use these privileges to the disadvantage of consumers. OTT services, by contrast, don’t control network infrastructure and must compete fiercely to retain customers who could easily be swayed.

There’s also the perception that OTT payers get a “free ride” on telecom network infrastructure which is financed by operators. But in truth, OTT players invest billions of dollars annually in a combination of physical facilities, according to the ITU, including data centers, fiber networks, servers and routers, which form an “essential part of the physical fabric of the internet”. In fact, according to the report, online OTT players invested an average of US$33 billion per year in infrastructure from 2011-2013.

ITU argues that telecom operators should recognize how much online OTT players drive consumers’ willingness to pay for internet access, which then provides more opportunities to generate revenue and finance new infrastructure. According to the report, consumers who demand the most data tend to spend more money on mobile contracts that feature high-speed data – revenue that goes directly to the telecom operators.

“Regulatory authorities do not have to choose directly between the interests of online application providers and telecom operators,” the ITU report concludes with. The most important aspects of internet usage that regulatory authorities should focus on, the report suggests, are adhering to customer needs, ensuring that the internet is widely available, and prioritizing connectivity, competition and innovation.

Published in Featured

Asia Pacific OTT revenue to hit $24 billion by 2022

Written on Sunday, 06 August 2017 07:54

Asia Pacific OTT (over-the-top) revenues from TV episodes and movies on platforms such as Netflix will reach $24.41 billion by 2022, according to Digital TV Research, which is triple the $8.27 billion recorded in 2016. The total will increase by nearly $3 billion in 2017 alone, the report says.

China will command half of the OTT revenues for the 22 countries covered in the Asia Pacific OTT TV and Video Forecasts report by 2022, increasing from just over a third of the 2016 total. China and Japan together will account for two-thirds of the region’s total revenues by 2022.

Advertizing revenues on OTT sites and SVOD (subscription video on demand) revenues are running neck-to-neck, the report says. SVOD will be the leader in 2017 and 2018, but AVOD (ad-based video on demand) will regain the crown from 2019, it claims. China will supply 61 percent of the region’s AVOD revenues by 2022 – or $7.27 billion.

Asia Pacific SVOD revenues will increase from $3,388 million in 2016 to 9,090 million in 2022, the report says. China will overtake Japan to become the SVOD revenue leader in 2017.

Digital TV Research forecasts 234 million SVOD subs by 2022, up from 91 million in 2016. China will have 139 million SVOD subs (59 percent of the region’s total) in 2022. India and Japan will together account for another 50 million, leaving only 44 million divided between the remaining 19 countries.

The report concludes: A quarter of the region’s TV households will subscribe to an SVOD package by 2022, up from just over a tenth at end-2016.

Telia Carrier announced that it has launched two PoPs in the Portland area in Oregon, US, bringing improved diversity and high speed connectivity to service, content and cloud providers in the Pacific Northwest.

Telia’s new PoP locations include Hillsboro, a key connection point for sea cable landings coming from the west as well as international traffic from Asia. Telia’s expansion to the Portland area gives (OTT) providers, hyperscale cloud networks and carriers the ability to directly connect in market rather than backhauling traffic to other regions, which adds latency.

The Portland metropolitan area or Silicon Forest as it is commonly referred to has become a hub for carriers and content providers as well as regional education and city networks connecting to greater Portland and Eastern Oregon. Tax incentives and green power sources have driven significant growth in the last two years. Large-scale data center construction in the region is accelerating due to terabit traffic demands and an abundance of sustainable, low cost hydro-power.

As a new market entrant, Telia Carrier’s two PoPs in the region provide unique network routing. The Hillsboro location is designed with long haul routes that establish diversity from downtown Portland, where many of the legacy carrier facilities are located.  Careful selection of the routing at river crossings ensures additional reliability.

“With continued investment in large-scale data centers and as new sea cable landings come online next year to support traffic demand from the Asia Pacific region, Hillsboro is a prime location for us to introduce new PoPs,” said Art Kazmierczak, Telia Carrier’s director of business and network development.

“By expanding to Portland, we continue to deliver best-in-class IP transit performance for education and broadband customers with minimal network hops, high resilience and inherent route diversity. These capabilities ensure our customers get the best possible connectivity and ultimately, they enhance the online experience for end users.”

Published in Infrastructure

Thaicom Public Company Limited, a provider of satellite communications services on an end-to-end basis, announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Huawei Technologies (Thailand) Co., Ltd. and Starcor Media Technologies Limited for the development of an OTT (Over-the-Top) platform in Thailand.

The companies have partnered to create value-added services for the next generation OTT platform for enterprise, educational, government and telecom sectors in Thailand.  Under the agreement the companies agreed to develop content-rich OTT ecosystem services, including TV streaming and video on demand.

The creation of this joint OTT ecosystem will benefit telecom operators in Thailand, who will be able to seamlessly integrate the OTT services with their products and deliver their contents to multi-screen devices such as smart TVs, smart phones, tablets and notebooks.

“We would like to thank Huawei and Starcor for their trust in us to provide the satellite capacity and infrastructure needed to deploy OTT services in the near future in Thailand,“ said Patompob Suwansiri, Chief Commercial Officer of Thaicom Public Company Limited. “We are confident that the partnership with Huawei and Starcor will enable us to continue to provide the satellite capacity needed to fuel the new digital TV ecosystem. The OTT platform represents a new service for Thaicom; it will complement our existing satellite platform and carry it into the new digital era.“

Robin Lu, Director of Enterprise Business, Huawei Technologies (Thailand) Co., Ltd. Said: "This partnership with Thaicom and Starcor is an example of Huawei’s determination to champion OTT-as-a-service platform on a worldwide scale in cloud and big data era.  Satellite technology serves as an enabler to unlock the digital ecosystem for new market opportunities such as OTT.  Our goal is to equip our customers with the advanced industrial cloud and big data technologies, to provide a powerful, best-in-class OTTaaS platform which combines fast speed and rich media resources with the renowned reliability of Thaicom’s satellite technology.“

And in turn it will empower Huawei to create a powerful entertainment and educational OTTaaS platform value proposition in Thailand.

Ivan Zhang, President and CEO, Starcor Media Technologies Limited, said: "We are proud to be involved in the development of Thailand’s future digital TV and content ecosystem. Through the cooperation with leading telecom service provider Huawei and leading satellite operator Thaicom, Starcor is able to deliver an unparalleled new entertainment experience."

Under the MOU, Thaicom shall provide the network connectivity and data center services for Huawei and Starcor.  While Huawei will provide the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)—cloud computing that provides virtualized computing resources over the internet—Starcor will contribute the OTT as a Service (aaS) platforms, and integrate third party media and content management platforms.

The MOU comes at a time when OTT content continues to grow in popularity among viewers in Thailand.  The collaboration will enable the companies to help customers seize new opportunities in a rapidly changing media environment, by creating an offering tailored to their needs.

Published in Satellite Industry

Swedish telecoms company Telia Carrier announced that it has added a new, high capacity route that stretches from Zurich, Switzerland to Strasbourg, France via Basel, Switzerland, providing a shortened path and lower latency between Frankfurt, Germany and Zurich.

With the addition of a new PoP and metro fiber in Zurich, the new route provides current and potential customers with routing options that dramatically improve performance for traffic to and from Milan, Italy and Marseilles, France. The combination of a shorter, unique route with added security and diversity gives Telia Carrier’s customers the ability to stay one step ahead of their end-users’ rising expectations.

In Zurich, the global wholesale carrier is seeing heightened demand for high capacity fiber infrastructure and 100G+ services from over-the-top (OTT) content providers and large-scale web hosting companies to meet customer demand. With the addition of a new PoP and additional fiber in Zurich, Telia Carrier can offer a variety of services and routing options to local and international companies looking to connect throughout Europe.

The new route provides inherent reliability and hardened security on a unique right-of-way with the fiber buried deep underground. Telia Carrier is offering its full portfolio of services on this route.

“As demand for OTT and cloud-based services continues to rise, service providers will need agile connectivity options for delivering their services. The new network path between Frankfurt and Zurich provides the highest capacity route across a shorter distance available in the region and gives content providers the infrastructure needed to drastically improve latency with a secure connection,” said Christoph Lannert, Regional Sales Director for Telia Carrier. “By delivering a diverse array of options in Zurich and the surrounding region, Telia Carrier empowers its customers to put their customers’ needs at the center of their universe.”

Telia Carrier’s global fiber backbone has grown organically, without acquisitions, and was the first to be 100G-enabled in both Europe and North America. It is also the first network to successfully transmit 1 Tb/s in super channels on its US network. According to Dyn Research’s global backbone rankings, AS1299, Telia Carrier’s global IP backbone, is currently ranked top-two.

Published in Telecom Operators

Hong Kong’s PCCW looking to sell 11.1% of HKT for $1.1 billion

Written on Thursday, 16 February 2017 07:19

Hong Kong-based PCCW, the holding company of HKT Group Holdings Limited, the information and communications technology company, reportedly plans to raise HK$8.53 billion ($1.09 billion) through the sale of 840.7 million share stapled units in subsidiary HKT.

According to reports, PCCW plans to use the proceeds from the sale to pay back debt, make further investments in media and IT services, business and other general corporate purposes.

The company is said to be expanding its reach into Asia, including a plan to extend its OTT video service Via into Thailand, and continue to expand into eastern China. With the proceeds from the sale, PCC would be in a better position financially to pursue these ambitions.

Managing the planned transaction is Goldman Sachs. The sale would represent an approximate 11.1 percent stake in HKT, and dilute PCCW’s share in the operator to around 51.97 percent. The transaction has a placing price of HK$10.15 per unit.

When the planned transaction was announced, PCCW’s shares dropped 5.97 percent to HK$4.57 at close of trading on Monday, February 13. Meanwhile, HKT saw its share fall 7.4 percent to HK$10.26.

If the transaction goes through, it will mark the second large recent divestment by PCCW, following the sale of Transvision (the owner of mobile broadband licensee UK Broadband) to Three UK for $375.9 million earlier this month.

Published in Finance

OTT platforms may have revolutionized communication and driven the connected movement, but there’s trouble in internet sharing paradise. The rise of streaming capabilities in social media apps, such as Facebook and Twitter, has made online interactions more appealing, with some now referring to Facebook and Twitter as media companies, which Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg fervently denies. But because of the freedoms that social media allows, as well as the anonymity it provides for users, many abuse it. Twitter, for example, is rolling out a new weapon in the fight against harassment by "trolls". Meanwhile, Facebook and Google have announced measures aimed at halting the spread of "fake news" on the internet.

Twitter is in a tight spot. The company recently announced plans to cut nine percent of its workforce as it struggles on after failing to find a buyer. Twitter has been battling to grow its audience. The key metric of monthly users rose slightly from 317 million from 313 million in Q3 – a growth pace which has prompted concerns over the company’s ability to keep pace with other fast-growing social media channels and attain profitability. Twitter’s strength is in the loyalty of its users, which is growing thin due to the nature of sharing on the platform – it has become a breeding ground for hate speech.

“The amount of abuse, bullying and harassment we’ve seen across the internet has risen sharply over the past few years,” said the company in a statement. “These behaviors inhibit people from participating on Twitter, or anywhere.”

One of the recent highly publicized cases of hate speech on Twitter came from American rap star Azealia Banks, who went on a tweeting tirade against British-Pakistani pop singer Zayn Malik, expressing a series of racial and homophobic slurs. In May, Banks had her Twitter account suspended as a result of public backlash – a move by Twitter that was generally praised. In July, Ghostbusters star Leslie Jones briefly quit Twitter after what she said was a stream of abuse fueled by comments from an editor at the conservative news site, Breitbart.

To combat this trend, in November, Twitter announced it had begun rolling out a new weapon against online trolls tarnishing its platform. The move comes as online social networks struggle to balance free speech with intimidation and aggression that make many fearful of speaking freely. Twitter is expanding a "mute" feature that enables users to block accounts sending inappropriate messages. Users will be able to eliminate or mute notifications based on keywords, phrases or entire conversations they aren’t interested in seeing, according to Twitter. It will provide a more direct way for people to report abusive behavior even if they are simply an eyewitness.

"This is a feature we've heard many of you ask for, and we're going to keep listening to make it better and more comprehensive over time," said the company, which already prohibits hate speech based on race, gender, religion, disability or sexual orientation. "This will improve our ability to process these reports, which helps reduce the burden on the person experiencing the abuse, and helps to strengthen a culture of collective support on Twitter,” the company added.

In an effort to trump the growing hysteria over the US election which has ramped up controversial rhetoric online, Twitter said its staff is being put through training sessions on understanding comments in cultural and historic context, and how to deal more effectively with reports of abusive online behavior. The company wants its platform to be more welcoming and inclusive, which could in turn increase its audience which hasn’t increased much in the past year.

"Abusive conduct removes the chance to see and share all perspectives around an issue, which we believe is critical to moving us all forward," Twitter said. "In the worst cases, this type of conduct threatens human dignity, which we should all stand together to protect."

It’s been suggested that Twitter’s expanded mute feature is similar to a tool that Facebook-owned Instagram introduced in September, which allows users to block certain words from the comment section. Instagram also allows users to delete comments made on pictures, report abuse and even have accounts blocked.

"All different types of people – from diverse backgrounds, races, genders, sexual orientations, abilities and more – call Instagram home, but sometimes the comments on their posts can be unkind," said Instagram co-founder and chief executive Kevin Systrom. "To empower each individual, we need to promote a culture where everyone feels safe to be themselves without criticism or harassment.”

Divisive rhetoric, however, isn’t the only issue plaguing social media OTTs. Facebook knows all too well the struggles of controlling hate speech on its platform. But another issue it now faces is the spread of fake news. The social media giant has come under fire recently for allowing fake news, exaggerated news claims, and other forms of rumor-spreading and irresponsible journalism to circulate throughout the site. Recent research, according to Vox, has found that 44 percent of all adults get their news from Facebook, so many have claimed that it’s Facebook’s responsibility to control the spread of “fake news”.

Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke out about the subject in a personal post in which he said less than one percent of all content on Facebook could be classified as “fake news and hoaxes”. The problem is, fake news is becoming “more viral” than real news, according to sources.

News site BuzzFeed conducted an investigation into the issue and found that not only was Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm promoting various fake news stories, but that almost 40 percent of the content published by far right Facebook pages and 19 percent of the content published by extreme leftist Facebook pages was either false or very misleading. The problem goes so deep that BuzzFeed discovered a group in Macedonia that was making profit from publishing thousands of fake right-wing news stories across hundreds of fake news websites. They group was making money from advertising every time one of their stories went viral.

To crack down on this trend, Facebook, as well as Google, announced plans in November to halt the spread of fake news on the internet by targeting advertising which, like the case in Macedonia, is the way many phony content companies are making profit. Google said it’s working on a policy change to prevent websites that misrepresent content from using its AdSense advertising network. Meanwhile, Facebook has updated its advertising policies to make it clear that those spreading misleading content will face the same consequences of those spreading false news.

It begs the question: should social media sites be held accountable for fake news, hate speech  and propaganda that are spread across their platforms? Mike Caulfield, director of blended and networked learning at Washington State University Vancouver, published a blog post in November where he looked at Facebook’s social news tracking API to determine the scope of which news stories on Facebook were genuine and which were false.

Caulfield found that a news story by a fake publication called Denver Guardian was able to reach a far bigger audience than ‘trending’ articles by respected news sources such as the Boston Globe or Washington Post. The fake news site’s politically charged story titled “FBI Agent Suspected in Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead” was widely shared on Facebook by users, even though it was completely false. It goes to show that Facebook, Google and Twitter users expect that the content they encounter on a trusted social media sites will be genuine.

Published in Featured

Japan Digital Serve taps Ericsson to boost OTT video delivery

Written on Wednesday, 14 September 2016 06:06

Japan Digital Serve Corporation (JDS) has chosen the Ericsson cloud-based MediaFirst suite as a next-generation TV platform from which to deliver a range of video services to its subscribers.  According to Ericsson, the move will enable JDS’s cable operators to offer highly personalized and seamless TV and video services across more devices to their subscribers.

The suite includes the Ericsson MediaFirst TV Platform, MediaFirst Video Processing, MediaFirst Video Delivery and Video and Storage Processing Platform (VSPP). Ericsson will also provide JDS with system integration services that include system set-up, monitoring and ongoing support and consultation.

According to Ericsson, the implementation will help JDS operationalize a common platform for effective creation, operation and delivery of content and “a modern cloud-based IP broadcast delivery system that has actionable analytics, multiscreen delivery, multi-DRM support, time shifted content, recommendations, promotional bundles and targeted advertising.”

JDS CEO, Hiroshi Kawamura, said the new OTT platform would have a major impact for cable operators across Japan. “Ericsson’s expertise spans the entire media value chain and it has been able to provide us with an all-encompassing solution for media processing, content delivery and storage, ensuring a sophisticated experience for end users.”

Ericsson describes its MediaFirst TV Platform as “a software-defined, media-optimized platform for the creation, management and delivery of next generation Pay TV.” It sits alongside MediaFirst Video Processing which offers “virtualization in content exchange, distribution and software-defined live UHD encoding” and MediaFirst Video Delivery, which provides “a single, comprehensive media processing suite that addresses every stage of the media delivery chain.”

Elisabetta Romano, Head of TV and Media at Ericsson said cable operators were increasingly looking to integrate OTT services alongside more traditional broadcast delivery to stay competitive in a crowded marketplace. “Our evolving MediaFirst portfolio has been created to leverage virtualization and cloud technologies to make the delivery of next-generation TV services a cost-effective reality.”

JDS was established in 2000 to support the digitization of cable TV across Japan and offers a delivery service of traditional multi-channel broadcast programs (approximately 200 channels (UHD/HD/SD) to over 200 individual cable operators with a combined six million subscribers. In recent years it has extended its services to include live-TV, time-shifted TV and catch up TV.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Reliance Comms builds India-wide content delivery network

Written on Wednesday, 24 August 2016 05:46

Reliance Communications (RCOM) and its subsidiary, Global Cloud Xchange (GCX), have deployed what they say is India’s first home-grown content delivery network (CDN), designed to take  ‘Digital India’ from promise to fruition.

Bill Barney, CEO of RCOM (Enterprise) & GCX, said Fast Edge comprised content caches around the edge of Reliance’s Indian network, connecting back to nine Tier III+ data centers in Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad. “The content caches, in turn, are seamlessly connected onward to our network of data centers situated in key hubs along the Emerging Markets Corridor, all interconnected by our wholly-owned global subsea fiber network,” Barney said.

He added: “Open-source cache servers hosted in Reliance / GCX MPLS PoPs throughout India mean content of all types including social media, data, video and gaming, can now be served from the very same neighborhood in which the eyeballs accessing it are based.”

Braham Singh, SVP of Product Management, RCOM (Enterprise) and GCX, said: “By building Fast Edge across the length and breadth of the Reliance network, the distance for content to travel to the eyeball can be slashed from 5,000 miles [8,000kms] to 10 miles [16kms], effectively eradicating the middle mile bottleneck.”

He added: “Because the content is cached and delivered across our local network, any rapid exponential growth in the number of users concurrently accessing will not automatically lead to middle mile bandwidth issues.  In other words, content can now go ‘’viral’ across India without impact on users.”

GCX notes that, according to Mary Meeker’s Global Internet Trend 2016 report, India’s Internet user growth is accelerating at more than 40 percent year over year, putting India ahead of the US as the second largest Internet user market after China.”

“With the increasing number of OTT, gaming and new media companies targeting India’s 350 million+ eyeballs, the demand for improved response time, reduced risk of malicious attacks, improved visibility of control over traffic flows and reduced risk of network capacity bottlenecks are rapidly growing,” GCX said.

“These requirements are posing challenges, especially for third party CDN providers with only infrastructure at regional hubs, far from where growth is exploding.”

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