Broadband focus of new forum

As end users demand a more personalized, high-performance Internet experience, Nortel Networks and other Internet infrastructure, content and service providers have joined forces to establish the Broadband Content Delivery Forum (BCDF).

The BCDF will focus on recommending open architectures to deliver rich, multimedia content over broadband networks, enhancing end-user experiences through improved performance and personalization, and opening new opportunities for service and content providers with increased value to customers.

“There is no forum today that is established to bring together the broadband value chain. This is the first effort in doing that,” said Keerti Melkote, director of product management, IP Services, Nortel Networks. “The business case for building this broadband Internet is what is lacking right now, and the BCDF was primarily established to first enable the business case and then enable the technologies around making sure the business case is enabled.”

The BCDF is open to, and solicits membership from, the entire broadband chain to address the critical business issues concerning the industry. From wholesale access providers to content and service providers, the BCDF will concentrate on bringing Internet subscribers what they value — a personalized broadband experience.

“The Internet itself is completely transparent to the needs of the end user and the content providers,” Melkote said. “What we are proposing in the broadband Internet is a model where the network participates actively in bringing the content to the end users. It gives the end users the ability to personalize their user experience and get what they want from the network, and content providers the ability to serve identified customers as opposed to serving an anonymous mass of users.”

With today’s Internet infrastructure architectures optimized for dial-up links (56Kbps delivery), users are hampered from receiving the full potential of higher-performance broadband access links. The BCDF hopes to improve that performance by bypassing Internet bottlenecks and by moving broadband content closer to the aggregation networks connected directly to end users. The prerequisite is a scalable platform that quickly adapts to market place demands and provides scalable universal aggregation — a reference architecture for personalized Internet services called Personal Content Tunnels (PCTs).

Unlike the Internet of today, the BCDF wants to develop mechanisms for a “network login” and for service advertisements, allowing service providers to recognize their subscribers and offer them highly personalized content and applications services through PCTs. “In the future, the network will be the destination, not just a conduit any more,” Melkote said.

New broadband content mediation and delivery technologies are expected to enable service providers to leverage their millions of subscribers by connecting them to premium applications, services and content that they want.

Atlantic Canada’s Aliant Inc. is one of the first Canadian BCDF members. According to Aliant’s general manager of Interactive Television Services, Joe Mosher, the Halifax-based communications company is “looking forward to hearing what others’ thoughts are and what their business models and plans are. We’re looking forward to the opportunity to collaborate on the huge amount of development that’s going to have to happen here (in Canada) to realize the full potential.”

Mark Quigley, an analyst with Brockville, Ont.-based The Yankee Group in Canada, said: “It’s very important that all the components necessary to provide consumers with broadband services come together. While Nortel certainly has a great grasp of optical networking, it doesn’t necessarily follow that they are absolutely in tune with what these content provision companies are thinking of in terms of their future product roll-outs.”

Under review by the BCDF is Nortel’s proposal to use its personal portal technology for Web-based service advertisements and its PCT technology. Nortel will present a proposal for an architectural framework and technical details at the BCDF’s first meeting in May.

For more information on the forum and its members, visit the BCDF at