Today Pacific telecom and undersea-cable operator Pacnet announced its new Media Delivery Service, becoming the latest carrier to enter the CDN business. The new product is available globally from today, and seems to offer both http website acceleration and streaming capabilities (both Flash and Silverlight). The company, as one might expect, sees its advantages stemming from its ownership of the network, as opposed to pure CDNs. It's something of an interesting proposition though, Pacnet basically crosses the Pacific, their nodes presumably are primarily on what some call the ring of fire and are hooked up by undersea cables, but wouldn't have a great deal of depth in any particular market.
This announcement comes as something of a surprise to me. It was just two months ago that Pacnet was making noises about buying an Asian CDN, I had not heard they were building one on their own at the same time. It's not as if one can just slap some servers in racks in a few PoPs and voila you have a CDN, it takes time to build one of these things right. Level 3 has been at it for two years now, even after buying a starter kit from Savvis. I don't actually know, but I'm guessing they have some help and there is a partnership somewhere underneath this offering. I'm curious to hear more about its origins.
Some of the quotes I have seen come out about this announcement were a bit puzzling though, such as:
Pacnet claims a unique differentiator from competitors by being the only such service to use route-optimization to deliver content to the end user using the best possible path through the Internet.
... according to CEO Bill Barney, [Pacnet] has a considerable cost advantage over dedicated content delivery services such as Akamai which have to buy bandwidth at retail rates from network operators such as Pacnet.
Akamai buys bandwidth at retail rates? Not in this decade... They do buy bandwidth of course, though so does Pacnet to a degree since they aren't on any list of transit-free Tier-1 networks I have seen.