Verizon Makes Its CDN Move

November 19th, 2008 by · 5 Comments

According to Ryan Lawler over at Contentinople, Verizon is poised to enter the CDN game. But Verizon doesn’t seem to plan on following the paths taken by AT&T or Level 3, they seem to have an entirely different approach in a partnership with Velocix.  The idea is that Verizon wants to efficiently distribute content both internally and externally by leveraging its local depth, i.e. its FIOS infrastructure, by putting Velocix caching solutions deep within its existing network. A quote from Velocix CEO Dillon helps clarify:

When the Web was primarily text-based, CDNs helped to make large Websites international. But he says broadcast video providers, like ABC and NBC, aren’t looking for a CDN with a worldwide footprint, but better quality delivery in local networks.

And Verizon apparently has a deal in hand, Starz Entertainment’s online video will be available to its broadband customers. That’s right, to *its* customers – others too I’m sure, but their emphasis is clear.   After all, a Velocix-based caching system will only be nearer to Verizon’s customers, not to Comcast’s or AT&T’s, etc.  How would it give them an advantage elsewhere?

Now hold on a second. Is this really a CDN? It sounds like a newfangled cable company to me, complete with a Velocix P4P powered cable headend and on-demand IP video. If Verizon’s CDN ‘distributes’ video mainly to its own footprint, where does that put them in the CDN food chain?  I guess it just means they think they are big enough to cut out the middlemen. After all, nobody can deliver bits faster to Verizon’s customers than Verizon can, especially if net neutrality remains a twinkle in Google’s eye. And they have more customers than most countries have people, in a way it isn’t much different to hand off your content directly to Verizon for its customers than to hand it off CDNetworks for all of South Korea.

Or am I misunderstanding Verizon’s intentions?  That’s very possible since they haven’t actually been announced as of my writing this.  I look forward to more information.  Update:  here is Verizon’s PR, as advertised

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Categories: Content Distribution · Internet Backbones

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5 Comments So Far

  • toddforthree says:

    if i remember correctly wasnt neflix distributing starz movies?

  • Ryan Lawler says:

    Rob — Thanks for the link. It’s pretty clear that cutting out the middleman is exactly what Verizon wants to do. They want to get a cut of the money that media companies and others are paying CDNs, especially since they think they’ve found a way to better deliver video to their own access customers. Plus, this is a way for them to make more money off that big fiber access plant than to just charge end user subscription fees. BTW — As far as I know, the press release went out this morning.

    toddforthree — Netflix is one customer that is licensing content from the Starz Play broadband video service, but Verizon is another. Basically anyone that wants access to the Starz content library for broadband purposes is free to do so.

  • Rob Powell says:

    After thinking about it for a bit, isn’t verizon making an end-run around the net neutrality debates? After all, what is a CDN tuned for FIOS customers if not preferential treatment for content providers that pay them for it?

  • Brian Scully says:

    I called it back in your July 21st post.

  • fanfare says:

    cutting out the middle … yup that is what they are doing. Makes sense doesn’t it?

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