AT&T Wants to Create Multicast Video Delivery Service

It isn’t clear what applications and revenue models would support any new multicast networks using 6 MHz of spectrum (up to 12 MHz in many markets) using the LTE-Broadcast protocol, but AT&T aims to find out.

By way of reference, 6 MHz is enough bandwidth to multicast one high-definition TV stream, or perhaps four standard-definition video streams, or any number of less data intensive test and image information streams.

What probably won’t work is some sort of video service on the model of cable, satellite or telco TV, as there simply isn’t enough bandwidth available, with one obvious sort of exception: the Super Bowl, streamed live to mobile phones.

Beyond that example--high value, highly-viewed events--the ultimate business model likely would be based on some sort of localized datacasting (to mobile users at a major live event of some sort) or other high-value content of interest to users.

AT&T is not the only firm that has been thinking about use of mobile networks as the foundation for video entertainment delivery.

Many observers might argue that Dish Network’s plans for Long Term Evolution would rely, to some significant extent, on delivery of video entertainment. That could take several forms, giving Dish its own facilities-based way to supply paid-for broadband access (mobile or fixed), and then the ability to create a national video streaming service over the top of the access connection.

The spectrum AT&T plans to use originally was used by Qualcomm to support its now-shuttered MediaFLO service.

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