In a sign of the times, Mediacom has reached out to a three-year-old startup for help in delivering and storing online video services for the MSO's broadband subscribers throughout the US.
Mediacom Communications Corp. , the eighth-largest US cable operator, has picked Qwilt Inc. to track and boost the quality of over-the-top (OTT) video delivery over its broadband network. Mediacom, which has more than 1 million basic cable and 500,000 high-speed data subscribers, is also relying on Qwilt's transparent video caching technology for help in monetizing that OTT video content. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Mediacom is leveraging Qwilt's flagship QB-Series Video Fabric Controller. This software-based, transparent video caching product is designed to help operators boost capacity and keep video transport costs down by monitoring OTT traffic, identifying trends and popular OTT titles, and storing those titles in video servers at the subscriber edge of the network. Qwilt says this approach cuts network traffic congestion by eliminating the need to replicate video streams from the origin servers or content delivery networks.
Online video programming now accounts for the bulk of traffic on most broadband providers' networks. In fact, industry experts estimate that OTT video makes up as much as 70 percent of the downstream traffic on a typical provider’s network during peak usage times. "If we can cache 70 percent of that traffic, the impact is very meaningful," Mark Fisher, vice president of marketing and business development for Qwilt, told me.
The deal represents a major coup for Qwilt, a Silicon Valley startup that has made more than 25 service provider deployments globally but hadn't landed a major cable provider until now. In its biggest announced pact before this one, Qwilt was selected by the Puerto Rican operator Choice Cable TV to manage OTT video demand on its network. The Mediacom deal is "big enough to carry the day for a while," Fisher said.
Over the past few months, Qwilt has struck a technology partnership with the CDN provider Limelight Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: LLNW). The privately owned firm raised a fresh $16 million in venture capital funding in July, boosting its total take to $40 million. (See: Qwilt Teams With Limelight and Qwilt Banks $16M in New Funding.)
Fisher said more MSO deals are in the works for Qwilt, both in North America and elsewhere. Citing confidentiality clauses, he declined to offer more details. "The need is the same across the world."
— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading