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AT&T trials live LTE broadcast for mass content delivery

American multiplay operator AT&T has confirmed it has undertaken a trial of LTE broadcast technology in Texas, USA. The trial focussed on delivering live digital content in stadia to attendees of an American football match, which took place earlier this week.

LTE broadcast technology allocates wireless network resources and chunks of frequency to host specific live content streams, so that users are able to access supplementing content to live events. The length of broadcast, as well as the location of the broadcast can be clearly defined to maximise efficiency of the wireless resource being utilised. Theoretically, this could extend to alternate camera angles, footage or replays at sporting events; commercial services for businesses; or simultaneous software updates for devices connected to the internet of things.

Senior Executive Vice President of Technology and Operations for AT&T, John Donovan, was excited about the potential for LTE broadcast to maximise the efficiency of the operator’s network resources.

“Many customers attending a football game accessing venue-specific content, like live footage from a player’s helmet camera, could experience lags because everyone else is trying to get that same content, at the same time, through individual data streams on their individual devices,” he said. “LTE Broadcast would make available one single data stream for the helmet cam footage, available to all compatible devices in the stadium which could minimise network congestion.

“This trial demonstration signifies the early stages of our foray into LTE Broadcast, but we see a promising future with this technology.  It could offer a variety of valuable future uses such as the ability to deliver software updates to not just smartphones, but also to the Internet of Things like connected cars and other devices, as well as new one-to-many commercial services for businesses.”

The announcement of AT&T’s trial comes after EE worked with the BBC to deliver an LTE broadcasting trial for last year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.  Speaking as EE demonstrated LTE eMBMS 4G broadcast technology at the Commonwealth Games in partnership with the BBC, Qualcomm and Huawei, EE Video Strategist Matt Stagg told Telecoms.com that it’s just a matter of time before 4G broadcast becomes a mainstream technology.

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