Airtel goes to the edge with new 5G-based video streaming

Airtel goes to the edge with new 5G-based video streaming

Ajay Chitkara.jpg

Indian operator Bharti Airtel is upgrading its live streaming, video-on-demand (VoD) and all other media delivery to its 400 million customers across the country in readiness for its 5G services.

Airtel will launch its own cloud-based content delivery network (CDN) in a partnership with Californian company Qwilt.

Ajay Chitkara (pictured), director and CEO of Airtel Business, said: “As we get ready to launch 5G services we anticipate a significant increase in data consumption across major cities. Airtel Cloud’s Edge CDN … will substantially increase our ability to reliably deliver high-quality live and VoD streaming throughout India.”

Airtel will implement its edge CDN across India, based on Qwilt’s technology. The company will become the largest service provider to date to deploy Qwilt’s open edge cloud solution, said Qwilt, which is backed by Accel Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, Cisco Ventures and others.

Qwilt said its solution “is deeply embedded within Airtel’s network, and therefore closer to Airtel’s subscribers than any other commercial or private CDN”. It added: “This edge architecture reduces the cost of building network capacity and substantially improves delivery quality.”

Chitkara said: “We already have relationships with 16+ content providers across Indian states and we look forward to working with others looking to serve in this region so they can also enjoy the benefits of Airtel’s unique service offering across India.”

Using the Qwilt service, Airtel will establish what it calls “a massively distributed layer of content caching resources that deliver streaming media and applications from the closest possible location to subscribers”.

Each low-cost edge server can be used by other virtual network function (VNF)-based services, making it cost-effective enough to distribute throughout the service provider’s access network, said Qwilt.

Qwilt CEO Alon Maor said: “Our edge architecture provides a new economic model for streaming delivery, in which Airtel Cloud’s edge CDN plays a central role in the end-to-end value chain.”