NZ: 4K fibre broadcast trial

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New Zealand open access Internet network provider Chorus is undertaking a proof of concept trial using its fibre network to provide a direct broadcasting service to consumers’ homes.

The service would run in parallel to any broadband service also provided over the fibre, using a second port on the Optical Network Terminal installed in homes, to connect to consumers’ TVs.

According to Chorus, a strength of the proposed  service is that it can provide guaranteed capacity, which would ensure major cultural events such as sports could be broadcast to all viewers, live and concurrently, in 4K or even 8K.

As such, Chorus anticipates the service will be of interest to local broadcasters who are looking for a way to provide their content to viewers without requiring an ISP partner or developing an over the top application that runs over the public Internet and therefore makes quality control more challenging.

“As consumer demands for ever greater quality of video such as 4K, along with emerging technologies like multi-camera and interactive services, continue to grow, it’s clear that traditional broadcasting technologies will be challenged to meet those demands long term,” said Kate McKenzie, Chorus CEO.

“New Zealand’s fibre network is a major national asset, and by 2022 will have greater coverage of the population than terrestrial broadcasting. Without this proposed Chorus service, local broadcasters will need to partner with major ISPs while facing competition from massive overseas content companies, and this dynamic could put the ability to tell local stories and produce local content at risk.”

“Chorus is an open access wholesale provider of infrastructure and would aim to provide this broadcasting service on an entirely equivalent basis to all local content providers who are interested.”

“This is a great example of opportunities to use the investment that has been made in fibre to deliver greater value than simply regulated fixed line broadband services alone,” she declared.

“SkyTV welcomes the proof of concept trial and looks forward to participating to understand how it might be able to work for our business,” said John Fellett, CEO SkyTV. “We are continually exploring ways to get our content to as many viewers as possible and welcome the addition of another potential option,” he added.

Digital terrestrial platform Freeview also announced its intention to join the trial. “The proof of concept trial from Chorus is welcome as it aligns with Freeview’s strategy of taking advantage of technology advancements that increase the accessibility of free-to-air content,” commented Jason Foden, CEO Freeview. “Our research reveals a growing number of households wanting access to compelling broadcast content delivered via IP.”

The Proof of Concept trial would commence in May and steps towards a commercial service will follow once the trial is complete.

Chorus says it remains committed to providing congestion free broadband, and suggests that the sizeable capacity in the fibre network, along with the ease with which even greater capacity can be added at a later date if required, means the broadcasting service would be able to run in parallel without impacting on broadband use at any time.


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