Cable Tech

Lucent Touts Video-Over-DSL

Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) today announced that Canadian service provider SaskTel will deploy Lucent's equipment in a new IP video-over-DSL service in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (see Lucent Intros Video Over DSL).

Crazy idea, you say? Possibly. But it just might work. Indeed, sources say service providers worldwide are looking at the idea of creating commercial video services for DSL. There are also a slew of RFPs (requests for proposal) for video-over-DSL in the field right now. And ironically, some say the upshot could be renewed strength in the optical market, if DSL networks can be put to new uses.

So where's the logic? The carriers are being driven by the fear that if they don't find new services for DSL fast, they will be usurped by the cable industry distributing its own broadband services. And that fear seems legitimate.

Here's the scoop: Lucent's offering a new version of its Stinger DSL access concentrator, which will give high-speed video capabilities to the device. Right now, customers use Stinger over asymmetrical DSL (ADSL) lines, making it tough to support high-definition television or nascent video-on-demand. The new Stinger will support offerings like these via very-high-bit-rate DSL (VDSL).

Lucent has integrated this new product, which is slated for general availability at the end of June, with video billing and administrative software from iMagicTV Inc. of New Brunswick; video headend equipment from Harmonic Inc. (Nasdaq: HLIT); and set-top boxes from Pace Micro Technology PLC (LSE: PIC).

Lucent says it's not working on any similar IP video product for use with optical services. And SaskTel says it's not interested in running fiber to homes for video use.

But analysts say the trend toward running digital, IP-based video over VDSL is just a stop along the way to fiber to the home. Rollouts of video over DSL will encourage more fiber installations, particularly among multiple system operators (MSOs), the next evolution of today's cable TV providers, who are generally thought to be best positioned to take a large slice of the upcoming packet video market (see Cable MSOs Set to Win?).

"The only way cable providers will be able to offer video services over DSL is by extending fiber to remote DSLAMs," says Alan Bezoza, broadband access analyst at CIBC World Markets. To extend the fiber as needed and overcome distance limitations, he says, carriers are starting to use PONs (passive optical networks) and new fiber installations.

"Video over DSL doesn't compete with optical access -- it encourages it," Bezoza asserts. And he says fiber will replace copper as IP becomes a medium for TV stations. Today, he notes, video over IP is strictly relegated to surfing the Internet with a TV screen.

So far, SaskTel's the only Stinger video taker willing to go on record. But it's a serious one, even though it's not revealing the value of its deal with Lucent. "We've found in our research there's a significant demand for services like these," says a spokesperson. The carrier has gotten the required licensing for nine cities from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and plans to roll out an IP-based video service commercially in the cities of Regina and Saskatoon in May or June, with the other locations to follow.

Lucent's already got competition for other regional Canadian telco contracts. Aliant Telecom of Maritime Canada is using equipment from Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) and Harmonic along with iMagicTV software in an IP video service called VibeVision.

Analysts say there are many other pending contracts in North America from carriers eager to get a slice of the video services pie -- a market that Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. says is worth $40 billion annually.

— Mary Jander, Senior Editor, Light Reading
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Gman_too 12/4/2012 | 10:37:38 PM
re: Lucent Touts Video-Over-DSL >My understanding is that while VDSL has the >bandwidth to support video, it does not have the >reach. Isn't VDSL only good for around 2k feet?

>If that is true, than wouldn't that severely >limit the number of customers that could be >offered the service? Even if all the RT's out >there are within 2kft, which they aren't, the >RT's don't have the capacity to handle that much >data, do they?

>Can anyone with more knowledge in this area help >me understand how this could be successful?

Yes, the distance limitations are there, but this product is great for the MTU/BLEC market. You put a Stinger in the basement (along with Video Server), and offer 8mbps to each apartment over existing copper wire. In a previous life I was involved with an outfit that was offering:
1) VOD - multiple streams into each apt.
2) Internet - 2 Mbps
3) Secondary telephony

all for ~$50 !! & per movie cost

and had plans for...
4) Gambling
5) Smut (old cash cow)
6) Surviellance

more $$$

The plan was to target apartments with minimal distance to SONET rings, and have an OC-12 handoff into building. They would split profit with RIET/landlord and needed low acceptance rate to make profit. This is a serious competitor to MSO market in the Metro.

Unfortunately, the last I heard they could not get any more funding. :(

Verizon has a similar service (Verizon Avenue), but last I heard they were only using 8 T1's into MTU and not planning to offer these many services.

I was considering moving to such an MTU, just for the low $$$ and Internet access. I surely hope this concept succeeds to give some hell to the ILECs and MSO who think they have the right to charge what they want.

dietaryfiber 12/4/2012 | 10:37:36 PM
re: Lucent Touts Video-Over-DSL I hate to say this but the primary place this is getting traction right now is NOT places like Verizon but in the IOCs like Paul Bunyan Tel and
Livingston Tel in the US. In Canada, there is all out war between carriers and cable so there is a great deal of interest there.

dietary fiber
opticaldude 12/4/2012 | 10:37:33 PM
re: Lucent Touts Video-Over-DSL This is so much fun to watch this post. Half of you are pissed at LU for coming out with something that they should have developed a year ago and the other half are pissed because a Telephony company is producing a product to compete with the cable industry. I say God Bless Lucent for competing in the market and trying to make the content delivery market more competitive. I don't know about the rest of you but I only have one choice for cable and they can treat me like they want and charge me whatever they think is best for them. When the Teleco market can deliver cable services, we the consumer will get treated a whole lot better.
hrdhtr 12/4/2012 | 10:37:33 PM
re: Lucent Touts Video-Over-DSL Alleluia opticaldude.

Most people here have a personal agenda when it comes to LU and can't see the forest thru the trees...
konaboy 12/4/2012 | 10:37:25 PM
re: Lucent Touts Video-Over-DSL I don't want to slam LU or any SPs looking at this strategy, but I'm dying to comment.

1. When is the last time your cable went down? It isn't the 80's anymore and MSOs run a tight and reliable ship for video delivery. But having said that, I won't give them my phone service because I don't want to play with a toy phone system. I can't help but think the reverse will be true with ILEC based video-over-DSL for a very long time.

2. Have any of you played with STB's and remote controls in CO-based video delivery systems? You know that annoying delay between channels when channel surfing on the TV in a SpectraVision equipped hotel room? Now you can get that at home. Personally, give me an HFC pipe with 120+ channels into my house and let my tuner select the program; don't make me wait for my remote to signal my STB, my STB to intiate a multicast leave request with the network for channel X (i.e. back to the CO), then STB initiate a multicast join to the network for channel Y, while I get to watch a blue TV screen for the interim. Sure it's getting better but it ain't coax.

3. The ILECs will have tremendous loop qualification problems (once again) while they try to identify the subset of video-over-DSL serving areas.

4. Newer ADSL technologies are another money losing stop-gap for the ILECs. If they are confident and serious, VDSL is where it's at. I won't open the FTTH/ILEC can of worms.

What you say?
hisles 12/4/2012 | 10:37:24 PM
re: Lucent Touts Video-Over-DSL This is a joke article really..

I sold a Television over copper network in the UK two YEARS ago!!! This has been live and success ever since. Newbridge kit(later Alcatel took them over)


What we should ask Lucent is did they base it on
ATM or IP? What I discovered to make it really fly was to bring in an all IP DSLAM with Gigabit Ethernet as the backhaul mechanism to substantially lower the cost per megabyte.

But that will probably never happen because the boys who own the copper hold on to ATM with their dear life to protect their knowledge base

Also, Cisco took over the best Satellite to IP conversion company(so good I forgot there name) but Newbridge and Terry Mathews owned it) so we know we won't see any scalable GigE based TV solutions solutions from Cisco in the metro that will cost in...

Oh well, thats why I sell Kirby's now....
Skiier_Dude 12/4/2012 | 10:37:23 PM
re: Lucent Touts Video-Over-DSL The Satellite to IP company was Pixstream -- purchased by Cisco and then shelved about 8 months later (or thereabouts).

Had some involvement in this area too -- video bandwidth was always the limiting factor if a subscriber wanted to run multiple TVs within the household.

One of the keys to me was continued advancement in video encoding technology. At the time, Pixstream and others were using Mpeg-2 which chewed up between 3-5Mpbs per TV channel, leaving little room for another TV or an Internet connection. My understanding now is that Mpeg-4 is now in limited production. Offers the same quality video at less than 1Mbps, providing more promise to the multi-TV-set household. There are a few STB and Encoder manufacturers now offering Mpeg-4 solutions.
LightMan 12/4/2012 | 10:37:22 PM
re: Lucent Touts Video-Over-DSL Here is food for thought. http://www.s2x.net/ This company is pursuing a providing a video distribution CO "in a box" for sale to RBOC's. Sponsored by Cisco or so S2 says..


From S2's site:

The future of broadband comes home with S2 Entertainment

S2 Entertainment puts the next generation of home entertainment on the line. Our technology solutions allow digital and interactive television to enter homes through a standard phone jack.

S2 makes it possible for telecommunications providers to compete aggressively with the cable cartel by offering a turnkey, end-to-end solution that delivers broadcast quality video and interactive services to consumers using existing twisted-pair copper phone lines.
joestudz 12/4/2012 | 10:37:21 PM
re: Lucent Touts Video-Over-DSL http://www.opticalaccess.com/n...
rjmcmahon 12/4/2012 | 10:37:20 PM
re: Lucent Touts Video-Over-DSL that MPEG-4 would make a huge difference to the viability of the solution.

Obtaining broadcasting rights will make the difference that matters.
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