Mgmt World: Telstra Sees ASP Future

DUBLIN -- Management World 2011 -- Australian national carrier Telstra is moving to an applications service provider (ASP) model that will allow it to create services, content or programs once and distribute them to multiple end-devices and, for the time being, its cable, wireline and wireless networks.

That's the approach Michael Lowery, executive director of architecture, online and media for Telstra Operations, was advocating for network operators on Monday in an Innovations Spotlight event preceding Management World's opening here on Tuesday.

Telstra owns and operates DSL, cable and wireless networks across Australia, but needs to be able to develop programs and services once for all of those networks and have OSS/BSS systems that support that kind of bundling, Lowery says. The company is adopting a TV Everywhere strategy but needs an efficient way to deliver that kind of service over its current network silos. (See Magyar Telekom Reports 2010.)

A cloud-based service offering that is device and network agnostic would be delivered to consumers on the device of their choice, and they could also choose the level of broadband service to deliver content, services and programs. When Australia moves to its National Broadband Network, and Telstra is one of many retail service providers, the ASP approach becomes even more rational. (See Australia Clears NBN Hurdle.)

To take this approach, Telstra would eliminate the multiple B-RAS devices that support broadband wireline services today and move new broadband network gateways as close to its wireline customers and to its wireless customers as well, moving it into the radio access network, if possible to the Node B level, Lowery says.

"That will allow us to differentiate on traffic, and to be able to manage differentiated services as close to actual customer as possible," Lowery says.

Assumedly, Telstra would be using DPI or similar technology within these broadband network gateways, both to offer tiered services starting with best effort and moving up, and to ensure proper treatment of traffic types. Telstra already uses a tiered offering with bandwidth caps, something it has taken heat from in the past, but will make this next transition smoother. (See Telstra Uses NSN Policy Control.)

Lowery caught some heat for that plan from some of those attending the Management World Innovation Spotlight over the need for traffic management at the edge of the network, but he wasn't having any of it.

Peer-to-peer traffic still counts for 40% of Internet bandwidth, and much of that is used to share pirated movies, Lowery claims.

"I'd love for them to go to the regulators" to complain, he says.

Traffic management also would enable Telstra to manage a potential deal with Netflix, Lowery claims, by managing the bandwidth usage of streaming video more intelligently.

In general, telecom has lagged behind other industries in using business analytics and Lowery says he's looking at the airlines and banking industries, in particular, for how they use analytics in pricing and selling their products. Rather than view itself as unique, the telecom industry should "latch on and see what we can leverage and use here," he says.

Lowery also admitted there are some key pieces missing for this strategy to work, and Telstra is looking for a service delivery framework with reusable APIs, as well as other tools, that will enable easier delivery of multi-screen video services.

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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