The National Broadband Network Company (NBN Co) has unveiled plans to launch its multi-cast video product, which will allow video services such as Foxtel to be delivered through the NBN in the middle of 2012, but the product will only be available for premises in the fibre footprint.
The multi-cast product will be made available for customers with NBN internet services who reside in the 93 per cent of Australian premises to be covered by fibre. Retail service providers (RSPs) will need to pay $250 per month per 100Mbps capacity at each point of interconnect (multi-cast domain), and will also be charged $5 per month for the first 20Mbps each household uses on video services, with an additional $5 per extra 10Mbps up to 60Mbps.
NBN Co predicts that standard-definition video can be delivered at between 3Mbps and 5Mbps, while high-definition video will be delivered at between 6Mbps and 8Mbps. Users will need a minimum of 6Mbps to 16Mbps once dual-mode set-top boxes, which allow users to watch one channel while recording another, are taken into account.
At the point of interconnect, however, retail service providers will need to account for all of the channels that they wish to broadcast. For example, if a company wishes to broadcast 20 standard-definition channels at 5Mbps each, and eight high-definition video channels at 10Mbps each, this would be a total of 180Mbps required, and the company would be required to buy a 200Mbps Multi-cast Domain at each of the 121 points of interconnect that it serves.
NBN Co's head of product development Jim Hassell said that the multi-cast offering would let any retail service provider offer video services to customers through the NBN.
"This should give consumers more choice and freedom to select the content they want, and it should encourage the development and production of new content by creating a more diverse market of service providers who want to purchase content to broadcast," he said in a statement.
For now, the product will only be available to customers in the fibre footprint of the network, but NBN Co indicated that the service may be made available through the company's long-term evolution (LTE) fixed-wireless service and satellite service in the future.
NBN Co plans to start testing multi-cast services later this year, with a full launch of the service in the middle of 2012.
The company has released a discussion paper (PDF) accompanying today's announcement, and has called for industry feedback on its multicast product plan.