NBN Co confirms multicast for Oz network

NBN Co, the firm mandated by the Australian government to design, build and operate the country’s new fibre-based broadband network, has confirmed that it will offer multicast capabilities to service providers using the network that wish to deliver television services to their end-customers.

The multicast features are expected to be available from the middle of 2012, with product testing to start later this year, and will come at a price: the Multicast Access Virtual Circuit is priced at AUD 5 (US$ 5.15) per month for the first 20Mbps allocation, and can be ordered in additional increments.

A service provider will also need to purchase a Multicast Domain starting at AUD 250 per month per 100 Mbps at each point of interconnect they serve.

“Multicast will be available as an add-on feature to our fibre offering giving service providers the opportunity to introduce very attractive and competitive triple-play voice, broadband and video content to any of their fibre-based customers,” said Jim Hassell, Head of Product Development and Sales at NBN Co. “It is designed to assist retail service providers to offer new more specialist content such as non-English speaking channels, high-definition TV, 3DTV, interactive services and social TV – efficiently and cost-effectively.”

The new multicast features will deliver backhaul savings compared to delivery via multiple unicast streams, and NBN Co is also considering adding multicast capabilities to its satellite and soon-to-be-built 4G wireless networks.

A document detailing the upcoming multicast feature and seeking industry feedback has been published by NBN Co and is available here.

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