Frontier improves its local video delivery strategy with BTI

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Having already completed the majority of the integration of the rural lines it purchased from Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) in 2010, Frontier Communications (Nasdaq: FTR) is now turning its attention to expanding its consumer and business capabilities in the markets it serves.

One issue that's become of particular concern for the telco is the growing consumer use of bandwidth-hungry online video services.

It faced such an issue in Moab, Utah, an isolated rural community it serves nearly 300 miles from Salt Lake City. In these communities it had to purchase backhaul from multiple service providers to backhaul traffic to its national data backbone, a prospect that has become cost prohibitive.

"There's not any one provider that has that route across greater Utah, and in fact at one point we were using five different local carriers to cobble together a network from Moab back to our backbone," said Michael Golob, senior vice president, Engineering and Technology for Frontier, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "When we looked at the price it averaged out to be $230 a Mbps we were paying to backhaul that traffic."

To overcome this problem, it deployed BTI's Integrated Services Delivery Platform, which includes its WideCast caching solution on its packet optical networking platform. The platform enables Frontier to cache popular content locally and closer to their subscriber base to help not just in terms of bandwidth savings but also providing a better Quality of Experience (QoE) for their customers.

After conducting trials of the Widecast technology in both Utah and California, Golob said that it immediately saw immediate cost and bandwidth benefits.

"We were able to average about a 24 percent reduction in bandwidth based off of those trials so we decided anytime we have an issue where we're doing a cost benefit analysis whether to buy an off-net circuit or buy BTI equipment we had a good benchmark for where that crossover point to invest capital and keep that content locally in the network," Golob said.

Golob added that as it gets into using 10G backhaul in some of its markets, "this is another lever I have to manage costs in the business and also provide a good level of experience for our customers with faster response times."

The BTI deployment is just one of many projects that Golob said the service provider is working on as it migrates off of Verizon's system.

"We're looking at a number of other areas where this application will make sense," he said. "For the last year and a half we have been in head down mode working through all of the issues of the acquisition and now it's time to plan the next three to five years out and this is one of the applications we'll be looking at to expand in our network."    

Looking ahead, the next part of Frontier's bandwidth evolution is to have a mechanism track the most popular content that emerges in each market. The service provider is setting up rules that dictate if a particular movie or YouTube video should be cached locally.

"If you have five people in a community to request a particular movie then at some point you cache that locally because there's enough interest in it to set a rule to cache that locally," Golob said. "We set up certain rules and manage the network for those frequently requested pieces of content from the Internet and once that period of time drops off and we replace it with whatever is hot for the day like a You Tube video."

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