Liberty Global Taps Teltoo's P2P Tech to Blunt OTT Video Spikes

Liberty Global has formalized a deal with a peer-to-peer software startup called Teltoo that will help the cable operator optimize video quality and manage bandwidth capacity when its networks face spikes in streaming usage.

Teltoo -- a company that originated in Madrid, Spain, and recently opened a headquarters in Boulder, Colo. -- has developed a P2P-assisted content delivery network (CDN) platform designed to help service providers keep bandwidth demand in check as OTT streaming loads increase, while also cutting down on CDN costs.

Core to that P2P-assisted approach is the use of WebRTC and a small piece of software installed on video players running inside web browsers, mobile devices and TV-connected streaming boxes. Under this decentralized, P2P-assisted model, viewers are able to fetch segments of content from other viewers or, in the absence of that, capture those segments from from the origin server of the service provider's CDN. Teltoo says its technology can be used on a standalone basis or in combination with a partner's CDN.

While service providers can proactively nail dowe capacity for the streaming of major sporting events, Teltoo's technology can likewise help them manage bandwidth and optimize video streams during spikes they can't necessarily predict, according to Pablo Hesse, Teltoo's founder and CEO.

In addition to managing these unforeseen surges, the technology is also finding use cases in parts of the world with more limited access to network infrastructure and higher quality broadband speeds.

Liberty Global, one of Teltoo's financial backers, will deploy the startup's technology in Romania and Poland in the first stage, followed by a rollout in the Netherlands and later expansions into the UK and Latin America. Some of that activity will focus on Horizon 4, Liberty Global's next-gen, multiscreen entertainment platform, and the operator's "GO"-branded mobile app.

Hesse said his company is in talks with other cable operators and service providers, including Telefónica. In addition to helping to manage video streaming on mobile devices, there's particular interest in Teltoo's technology as operators deploy more advanced set-top boxes that fit into their broader IP video migrations, he said.

Teltoo's early connections have been the strongest with cable early on. Teltoo participated in the Virgin Media Techstars accelerator program in 2016, and also was part of the 2017 "Fiterator" class of UpRamp, a CableLabs-backed unit focused on incubating startups with technology and services of particular interest to cable operators.

A growing trend
P2P-assisted CDN technology is catching on elsewhere.

A recent example is CenturyLink, which got deeper into this part of the streaming game via the acquisition of Paris-based Streamroot, which has also developed a peer-assisted mechanism that uses capacity at the edges of the network -- in smartphones, tablets, set-tops and connected TVs -- to help optimize OTT traffic.

CenturyLink said at the time that Streamroot's tech is particularly useful when streaming spikes emerge, such as when consumers swarm to popular, live-streamed events or when a new episode of a popular TV series is made available on-demand. CenturyLink is also using Streamroot to assist OTT video partners that serve regions such as Eastern Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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