Telstra CTO Hugh Bradlow this week discussed some of the issues telcos have to deal with as more of their customers turn to the Internet to access rich media services.
"Broadband usage is becoming media-centric rather than Web-centric," he told Total Telecom on the sidelines of Broadband World Forum on Tuesday. By the end of the decade, consumers in the U.S. will watch more hours of content over broadband than they will over broadcast, he said.
In the age of media-centric broadband, "each user has a much more sustained usage of the network," Bradlow explained, so "your average aggregate throughput becomes the bottleneck."
This issue is particularly pertinent to mobile operators, which are seeing steady growth in the volume of video traffic on their networks.
Telstra is no exception, and is investigating several methods for improving the quality of mobile video, including transcoding, predictive content caching on devices, and LTE Broadcast.
"We've done a lot of work on LTE Broadcast," Bradlow noted.
Telstra in February announced plans to trial LTE-Broadcast, which is based on eMBMS (evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Services), in partnership with Ericsson.
However, "We don't have commitments to put it into service any time in the near future", Bradlow said.
Not all video optimisation techniques are created equal, either.
"Transcoding is very important and we're looking at predictive caching, but that is more difficult," said Bradlow.
When it comes to pushing video to devices based on the owner's habits and preferences, "the long tail of content can get very, very long," he said.
Bradlow was also sceptical about prioritising mobile video traffic due to the potentially negative effect it could have on the user experience.
"If someone at the very edge of the cell tries to watch a video and we prioritise that traffic, we could use up all the capacity in that cell trying to guarantee the quality of that video all the way to the edge of that cell," he said. "QoS becomes very complex when it comes to mobile."