Thursday, February 08, 2007

Bandwidth Blues

In an interesting address at the Cable Europe Congress today, Vincent Dureau, Google's head of TV technology, said at there wasn't enough bandwidth to handle the TV 2.0 revolution. Apparently even Google's huge data farms can't cope.

There are a range of technologies that can help - 'grid'-like P2P technologies and multicasting are two solutions now being deployed.

However, as Google have now realised, the real solution is 'network within networks' and, not surprisingly, he sucked up to the cable execs by saying that they had all the answers.

Actually, cablecos do have part of the answer, but the new fiber providers - usually major telcos - also have a major part to play. The problem of bandwidth actually has two components - the longhaul and local delivery (or 'last mile' as it is so often called).

It is true that we are approaching a day when demand may actually go somewhere near reaching the capacity available, but in discussions with major international carriers, the message seems to be that there's lots of longhaul capacity, especially, available. And major cablecos and telcos are still investing heavily in local delivery as exemplified by BT in the UK and Verizon in the US.

And, as ever, new technologies such as WiMax will come through and change the bandwidth landscape again.

So, is bandwidth an issue ? It probably is if you're trying to replicate the broadcast model exactly, but existing capacity works well for the new breed of services being made available for TV over IP.

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