Cisco signs up BT for new service to speed up video streaming

FILE PHOTO: A visitor uses a mobile phone in front of the Cisco booth at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona
FILE PHOTO: A visitor uses a mobile phone in front of the Cisco booth at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, February 26, 2019. REUTERS/Rafael Marchante/File Photo

October 8, 2020

By Supantha Mukherjee

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Cisco has signed up Britain’s biggest telecoms group BT as its first customer for a new service to speed up internet video traffic through its networks as the coronavirus crisis pushes up demand for video streaming.

The new service, developed with U.S. cloud platform company Qwilt, helps telecom operators to build their own content delivery infrastructure to increase streaming quality, reduce cost, allow more control over content flows and add a revenue source.

Video streaming companies such as Netflix, Alphabet Inc’s YouTube, Disney+ and Amazon’s Prime video service, account for the majority of the internet’s traffic volume, which got a further boost from the pandemic.

And as 5G networks get deployed more widely, including the expected unveiling of Apple’s 5G iPhones next week, data and video traffic would increase more.

“Streaming video may be the killer app for the internet, but it doesn’t have to kill the internet,” said Jonathan Davidson, Senior Vice President at Cisco.

Earlier this year, European Union industry chief Thierry Breton had called on the streaming giants to lower video streaming quality to help to avert internet gridlock.

Media and internet companies usually pay content delivery network groups such as Akamai to speed up content transfer by navigating less congested routes over the Web.

“With streaming video expected to represent north of 80% of traffic flowing through service provider networks in the coming years, content delivery is the first of potentially many services they can deploy from within to monetise their edge footprint in the 5G era,” Davidson said, referring to the telecom operators.

(Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee, European Technology & Telecoms Correspondent in Stockholm. Editing by Jane Merriman)