Optimum Lightpath Offers Managed Video

August 27th, 2008 by · 1 Comment

Almost beneath the radar, Optimum Lightpath, the metro fiber division of Cablevision, did something interesting last week.  They began offering managed video services.  When I first read the PR, I said to myself 'ooh, a cable company offering video, big whoop'.  But that's not what Optimum Lightpath is talking about, this has nothing to do with cable television.  It's not a CDN either, nor is it an Envysion-like product.

What Optimum Lightpath seems to be aiming for is a regional competitor to Level 3's Vyvx, encoding and transporting video streams from the venue to where it will be processed, perhaps also for dedicated distribution to the enterprise (as opposed as a CDN to the consumer).  They are using a modern carrier ethernet platform to so it with, offering both managed and unmanaged services.

I suppose Cablevision's geographical location gives them this opportunity, the New York City metropolitan area is big enough and generates enough video to make it feasible and Optimum Lightpath's footprint is very dense.  I certainly haven't run into any other regional fiber companies that are making a serious run at this market.  Sure they will do the transport of such video whenever they can, but usually it is someone else running the show - say Vyvx or AT&T or whomever.  Is the New York market really big enough that Optimum Lightpath can succeed in this business despite not having network infrastructure to any other market?  I guess we will find out.

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Categories: Content Distribution · Metro fiber

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  • Frank A. Coluccio says:

    The NY City (tri-state) market is plenty ripe with opportunities for the type of video transport services being discussed here. All of the major (and some of the lesser) TV networks headquarters are located in NY. They require “studio-grade” transport over the MAN/WAN, not to mention the growing list of outer-borough studio locations and post-production labs filling up old warehouses (e.g., in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Silvercup Studios and Kaufman Studios in Astoria, Queens where the Marx Brothers filmed Duck Soup and other of their classics prior to Paramount Studios’ moving to CA).

    Then there are the many entertainment and sporting venues throughout the tristate area as well. Advertising agencies, too, utilize these services, as do some of the larger financial institutions that possess virtual- and physical- campus presence in NY.

    Yes, the opportunities are many, and many of them don’t even call for a gateway to the larger WAN (although that wouldn’t be a problem for LP either). It’s a perfect arrangement for the tri-state fiber operator, I’d say.

    For what it’s worth, both Lightpath and 4Connections maintain both city and state licenses in the states where they are licensed to operate. This means for LP that it is recognized as one of the dozen-plus facilities-based (fiber-in-the-street and trench-digging) franchise holder in NY City proper, and statewide both LP and 4C are recognized as full-fledged “ILECs”, as well.

    When satellites were still dominant, going back to the Eighties at the time of fiber’s first commercial emergence in the competitive local loop arena (some twenty five years ago), Teleport Communications Group (TCG) held out some attractive offerings of the type being discussed here to the broadcast and movie production sectors.

    Those earlier video services from TCG were supported by fiber emulating the analog “broadband” feeds that were previously carried by the Bell Operators’ over analog FDM (and baseband) coax and analog microwave systems. One of the goals was to maintain “studio-grade” quality over MAN distances, as defined by the TIA/ANSI-RS-250C standard. If analog performance couldn’t be met at or beyond certain distances, say, then digital encoding approaches were sought instead, but digital, especially during that early stage, imposed a much higher cost to both the operator and the customer.

    And of course, TCG and later MFS et al also managed and served with their fiber routes the earth stations that resided at the NY Teleport Earth Station on Staten Island and other cabletv gateway offices in the tri-state area, to boot. Of course, the state of the art has improved dramatically since then, and in the process the cost dynamics that once favored analog for short-to-intermediate distances typical of short hauls and MANs have been turned on their head (as is the case for so many other service points as well), now favoring digital over analog for both unit pricing and network management and agility for all concerned.

    Frank

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