BigBand Networks, Inc. has announced that its commercial deployments of switched broadcast have now passed more than five million households in the U.S. Three of the top five US cable operators have selected BigBand’s switched broadcast solution. Two of those operators have deployed BigBand’s solution commercially and are using it to switch digital broadcast programmes on more than 1 million tuners.
“BigBand Networks pioneered switched digital broadcast and is ramping up commercial deployments at just the right time for the industry,” said Gerry Kaufhold, principal analyst for In-Stat. “Switched digital can allow operators to significantly increase HDTV programming and meet subscriber demand for new services.”
Switched broadcast, sometimes referred to as switched digital video, has generated widespread interest due to its ability to allow operators to expand programming and add new, high-bandwidth services such as HDTV at a relatively low cost per subscriber. In a research report published in January by ABI Research, entitled “Assessing CATV Bandwidth-Expansion Solutions,” switched digital video is estimated to cost $5-10 per household passed (HHP), far less than the report’s estimated cost of a PON Overlay ($1000 per HHP) or HFC bandwidth expansion to 1 GHz ($50 per HHP).
By directing live programming only where it is requested by viewers, instead of delivering all programming to all subscribers all the time, BigBand’s switched broadcast is designed to make it easier for cable operators to add more VOD and more “long tail” content traditionally associated with the Internet. BigBand’s solution also actively switches bandwidth-intensive HDTV channels, designed to make HDTV delivery as efficient as possible. BigBand Networks is now deploying its fourth-generation product based on open protocols designed to enable multi-vendor environments and integrate with existing cable networks.
“Our field experience with switched broadcast and the research and development effort we’ve put into the technology has begun to translate into increased commercial deployment,” said Biren Sood, vice president and manager of cable video Americas for BigBand Networks. “Our switched broadcast solution is mature and stable. Operators are now able to deploy the technology with much greater ease and confidence and that is one of the reasons why subscriber numbers have grown so rapidly in the last 6-12 months.”