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Comcast Testing Proprietary CDN

19 May, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

If launched, the CDN could rival Akamai, Level 3, Limelight Technologies, among others

Comcast has begun testing its own content delivery network (CDN) that it reportedly plans to market to small and medium-sized over-the-top video services delivering live and on-demand content the last mile to their Comcast subscribers.

CDNs are Internet servers that allow for faster, more-efficient delivery of third-party streaming media files.

CDNs such as Akamai, Level 3, Limelight Technologies and Netflix’s Open Connect have received notable attention as virtual traffic switches directing increasingly crowded Internet traffic. Comcast’s foray into the space could conceivably offer a cheaper alternative since the No. 1 cabler owns the “last mile” of the Internet distribution channel into consumers’ homes.

Speculation that a Comcast CDN would offer faster streaming speeds similar to recent interconnection deals between Netflix, Comcast and Verizon, misrepresents what CDNs do, according to Dan Rayburn, tech analyst with Frost & Sullivan.

Rayburn recounts that Verizon and HBO signed an agreement in 2010 whereby the premium channel used Verizon’s CDN to navigate its content less expensively — not faster — to the telecom’s FiOS subscribers.

“For content owners that have a large percentage of their content going to Comcast subscribers, it would make sense for some of them to take that portion of their traffic off a third-party CDN and move it over to Comcast,” Rayburn wrote in a blog post.

The analyst contends Comcast would market the CDN to distributors of video games, broadcasters, publishers, software and media companies.

“I expect some content owners to be able to pay 20% — 40% less than what they pay now,” Rayburn wrote.


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