Content delivery network (CDN)

Ericsson Lands Massive Russian CDN Deal

Russian telecom operator Rostelecom has deployed the world's largest operator-owned content delivery network, in terms of geographic scope and capacity, in the hope of monetizing the over-the-top video that traverses its broadband network.

Using Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC)'s Media Delivery Network platform, announced earlier this year, Rostelecom set up servers in 30 major cities across Russia on a network with the capacity of more than 1 Tbit/s. (See Rostelecom, Ericsson Team on Largest Operator CDN.)

The carrier, which has 9.5 million broadband customers and is also Russia's largest pay-TV provider, is the first major deployment of the Media Delivery Network platform, immediately becoming the poster child for what Ericsson hopes is expanded CDN deployment by wireline and wireless operators globally.

Speaking from the trade show floor of the IBC event, which starts tomorrow, Lisa Skelton, head of marketing, Video and Data Traffic Optimization, at Ericsson, says Rostelecom will be able to use its CDN to not only improve the quality of user experience for its customers but also to build a business charging OTT content providers to host their content.

"Only a network operator can guarantee the consumer quality of experience -- a global CDN can't do that, because they don't have the reach to the customer that the operator has," Skelton says. "Rostelecom will be selling its CDN services to OTT video providers, which enables them to monetize the OTT traffic that is flowing over their [broadband] network."

Ericsson is also touting the quality-of-experience piece, saying consumers are willing to pay more for better viewing experience, giving operators another opportunity to generate revenue. By locating the most popular content closer to their customers, the operator CDN also enables either a wireline or wireless operator to minimize the impact of video streaming on their backbone networks.

Why this matters
Many broadband operators have already deployed some form of content delivery networks, and are likely to continue to use those to minimize the backhaul of popular video traffic. Rostelecom is the first announced deployment of Ericsson's new approach to CDNs, and could be a proof point for monetizing OTT video for other operators.

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— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

Carol Wilson 9/12/2013 | 4:06:50 PM
Re: Far-fetched claim No doubt. 
walker_jr 9/12/2013 | 4:02:25 PM
Re: Far-fetched claim I guess "Rostelecom deploys a medium-sized CDN with Ericsson's help, espousing a bizarre, unrealistic, and unexplained hope to somehow make money from OTT players - something that no other fixed-line provider in the world has managed" makes for a less snappy headline.
Carol Wilson 9/12/2013 | 3:52:36 PM
Re: Far-fetched claim Actually I'm trying to achieve two things - explain my foolishness in believing Ericsson's claim without having checked it out, mostly because they are talking about geographic size and Russia is a lot bigger than the US, and biding my time while I try to get Ericsson to 'splain themselves. 

You are bringing a lot of passion to this debate and I thought that deserved a response. 
walker_jr 9/12/2013 | 3:09:55 PM
Re: Far-fetched claim I'm unclear what you're trying to achieve here. Your article says "Russian telecom operator Rostelecom has deployed the world's largest operator-owned content delivery network, in terms of geographic scope and capacity" - by both these measures (geographic scope and capacity) it is not, which you apparently agree, and easily disproved as per below since both Tata and Level3 are far geographically broader (being truly global) and much larger in capacity, with no public figures on Tata's but Level3's is 27x larger. Then there is the press release, which says "[Rostelecom] ... has deployed the world's largest operator content delivery network (CDN)." This is manifestly incorrect also, because this broader definition then opens the statement up to operators who use other companies' CDNs, ie almost every other operator in the world. So there we have many much larger deployments like AT&T, Rogers etc. and this statement is also incorrect. Now it appears you are seeking to redefine the claim to "world's largest CDN deployed by an operator that also provides broadband and IPTV to consumers." This is a very strange route to take, since this claim does not appear in either your article or the press release, which instead make quite different and much more expansive claims and which I have quoted above. In any case even this is clearly incorrect since just looking at the US I could name Comcast, AT&T and Verizon who meet your new classification and have far larger CDN infrastructures in support of the same thing Rostelecom is doing. And then we could talk about the Chinese operators, even small regional operators there have more than 2 million broadband IPTV customers and the national ones far more. And there is Telstra/Foxtel, Singtel/Optus, Rogers, Time Warner, UPC, Virgin Media/Liberty, Sky, Free, Fastweb - the list goes on. My point is that the original press release is wrong, your article if anything overstates it further, then you are trying to defend this piece of PR by suggesting another interpretation divorced from either the press release or your own article, and this is also not correct. I can't see a way forward from here.
Carol Wilson 9/12/2013 | 2:10:32 PM
Re: Far-fetched claim You make a good point about the claim - it is overstated on the surface. 

But setting that aside, I don't think it's accurate to compare this CDN to Level 3's since Level 3 doesn't provide broadband and payTV services to consumers, as the Russian carrier does. That is the market Ericsson is targetting and this is the largest deployment in that specific space. 
walker_jr 9/12/2013 | 1:20:33 PM
Re: Far-fetched claim What the article says is "world's largest operator-owned content delivery network, in terms of geographic scope and capacity" and in the press release it says "has deployed the world's largest operator content delivery network (CDN)" - both of these statements are manifestly nonsense.

Level3 owns its CDN, and it is global (http://cdn1.cust.footprint.net/prod/App_Data/Replicated/MediaFiles/1/4/C/%7B14CC88A0-F445-4A6B-99E3-0CD1E1BA6F46%7Dlevel3_cdn_map_003.pdf) - vs Rostelecom's, which is tiny in scale and only covers one country. Tata also owns its CDN and it is global in coverage (http://www.bitgravity.com/images/lightbox/network_map.gif) - most other global operators buy CDN services from others so I do not think those count.
Carol Wilson 9/12/2013 | 1:12:53 PM
Re: Far-fetched claim Actually, they were very specific about this - they are talking about local operators. My fault, I should have made that clear. 

So not a Level 3 -- Tata might be a different argument. 
walker_jr 9/12/2013 | 1:08:54 PM
Far-fetched claim There is no way this is the largest operator-owned CDN. What about Level3, just for starters, whose web page states it has 27Tb/s connected? Or Tata's BitGravity?
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