Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Cache Deployment: BT's Wholesale Content Connect Service and Net Neutrality

Interesting article by Mark Jackson for ISPreview "BT Wholesale is officially gearing up for the launch of its new Cisco (see " BT Selects Cisco's Video Content Delivery System" - here) based Content Connect (BTCC/WCC) product. The service aims to handle the growing demand for broadband internet TV services by caching popular video content, effectively on an ISP's own network, as opposed to dragging it over several remote servers to reach the end-user"

See "BT UK Prep Broadband TV Content Connect Service Despite Net Neutrality Fears" - here.

".. some critics fear that it could allow BT to abuse Net Neutrality .. A BT Spokesperson responded:
"BT's Content Connect service will not create a two tier Internet, but will simply offer service providers the option of differentiating their broadband offering through enhanced content delivery. BT supports the concept of net neutrality but believes that service providers should also be free to strike commercial deals should content owners want a higher quality or assured service delivery

The chart below is taken from BT's document - "BT Wholesale Content Connect - Service & Interface Description" - here.




  1. This is an interesting twist in the Net Neutrality debate, which usually revolves around IP packet prioritisation/QoS; in this case, customers may receive a better service from VSP A than from VSP B not because of any differential treatment of traffic but because VSP A has paid to have its content cached deeper in the network. I predict that this is just the beginning of a trend of ISPs and wholesalers finding new ways to 'add value' that will increasingly complicate the picture.

  2. So Peter, what you are saying here is that we have 'emergent non-neutrality'?

    Our estimation is that the 'structural' advantage that this should give in terms of user visible quality of experience is about 0.5s to 2s better 'time to first frame' (i.e point at which you can start streaming) over an UK/EU located competition - assuming equivalence for the other steps in the delivery chain.

  3. 'Emergent non-neutrality' indeed; if 'neutrality' is defined as 'treat no packet differently from any other' then almost *anything* you do - caching, compression, transcoding, etc. - will violate it. This is why, IMHO, extreme 'net neutrality' stifles innovation (quite the opposite of what its proponents claim).

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