Fiber strengthens hold on content transport

France Telecom content transport subsidiary GlobeCast has extended its global fiber network direct to the premises of leading operators, increasing the capacity and reach of its content transport services. The move will help operators and broadcasters move toward 1080p HD and 3G services over the coming years, ensuring that full quality is maintained during production and contribution while containing the costs.

The key point about fiber connectivity is that transmission delays are less than over satellite links, while the cost of bandwidth is falling, making it feasible to deliver HD content uncompressed. Some other suppliers of media distribution services, such as Scandinavian telco TeliaSonera, now carry uncompressed HD video for some TV service providers over its fiber network to take advantage of falling prices per unit bit rate. TeliaSonera uses the Nimbra IP transport platform from Swedish vendor Net Insight to carry uncompressed video for customers including Sweden's premier football league, Allsvenskan.

GlobeCast meanwhile has provided direct fiber access at the premises of more than 70 operators, including DirecTV and Fox Sports in the United States; Turner Latin America; TVN SA in Poland; CANAL+, Arte and Orange in France; SingTel in Singapore; Astro in Malaysia; and Now TV and i-CABLE in Hong Kong.

The trend toward direct fiber connection is expected to continue, with even satellite carriers admitting they will be undercut in many reasonably well-populated regions where they cannot match fiber’s economies of scale and vast potential capacity. Satellites will increasingly concentrate on mobility and providing services to remote regions where the economics will still not stack up for fiber.