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BT Wholesale Runs Technical Trials of Live Broadband ISP Television Service

Posted: 10th Mar, 2011 By: MarkJ
uk youview broadband internet tvbt wholesale content connect ukBT Wholesale UK is to introduce a suite of new digital content services, including a live TV over broadband product (TV Connect), alongside its forthcoming BT Content Connect (BTCC/WCC) Content Delivery Network (CDN) for ISPs.

The TV Connect service is expected to achieve a commercial launch within the next 12 months, which is roughly the same timescale as the YouView (Project Canvas) IPTV joint venture (here). The two are directly related, with BTCC being used to support BT's version of the service by improving the experience of watching and listening to digital content over your broadband ISP connection.

BT Content Connect seeks to handle the growing demand for broadband internet TV (IPTV) services by caching popular video content, effectively on the ISP's own network, as opposed to dragging it over several remote servers to reach the end-user (as most other CDN's currently do). Further details of BTCC can be found here.

Meanwhile the TV Connect service itself is still subject to a technical trial, which will be conducted between April and September (2011) at the latest. Any interested ISPs have been given until 5.00pm on Thursday 14th April 2011 to apply. It's already a fairly certain bet that both TalkTalk and BT Retail UK, which are part of the YouView joint venture, will be involved in that. However TalkTalk does intend to develop its own CDN solution.

BT Wholesale Statement on the TV Connect Trial

"The technical trial will monitor interactions between Set Top Boxes, routers and BT Wholesale's 21CN multicast network. It will evaluate ways of maximising service coverage while optimising the viewing experience. We intend to run the technical trial to summer 2011."

BT states that any ISP wishing to get involved will also have to meet some fairly stringent requirements, including an ability to supply customers with the necessary Set-Top-Boxes (STBs) and routers. Their network also needs to be PTA compatible (PPP Termination and Aggregation) and providers will be expected to forecast their future channel capacity requirements on a quarterly basis to 2014/15.

Registration for the technical trial is a pre-requisite for an entitlement of channel capacity at the planned commercial introduction of TV Connect. In other words, any ISP with designs on an IPTV service launch in the near future will need to get involved by the April 2011 deadline or risk being left out until Q2/Q3 2012, which will put any official launch back to Spring 2013. OUCH.

Last month ISPreview.co.uk also exclusively revealed that Vodafone UK was working with BT Wholesale on a new quad-play service (here). We strongly believe that they are participating in the TV Connect trial, although obviously there's no official confirmation of that, yet.
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