IPTV multicast trial ends before NBN review deadline

NBN Co's nearly year-long trial of IPTV services over the National Broadband Network will end this month, with the company not saying whether the service will continue.

A trial of IPTV over NBN Co's multicast product to under 100 homes conntected to the fibre-to-the-premises network in Rhodes in Western Sydney will come to an end as of November 30, with NBN Co not indicating whether the service will survive the company's strategic review.

The multicast product developed by NBN Co is designed to be a cost-saving method of distributing single-source content, such as television broadcasts, across to multiple users on the National Broadband Network. It will ideally be used for IPTV products, such as Fetch TV and Foxtel.

There has been no commercial launch of multicast yet, but a trial commenced in December last year, with iiNet and several other telcos all taking part to test service. The pilot was set to end at the end of June this year, but ZDNet confirmed that the trial was extended to the end of November this year.

iiNet's NBN product manager Rachael McIntyre said that while the trial was still ongoing, iiNet had delivered FetchTV to its other NBN customers through HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) adaptive bitrate streaming.

"iiNet's trial of multicast with NBN Co is ongoing, and is progressing well. The trial period was extended to November 30, but we have recently opened up iiNet TV with Fetch with the Entertainment Plus pack to all our NBN fibre customers. All our NBN customers can now add the iiNet TV with Fetch service and receive 29 channels via HLS adaptive bit rate streaming," McIntyre said.

"We are committed to delivery via multicast but importantly we wanted to have our NBN customers experience iiNet TV with Fetch now and enjoy all the benefits of great content and HD movies."

The multicast service is delivered via the same UNI-D port on an NBN network terminating device as a regular broadband service is delivers on, but with NBN Co currently reviewing its operations and the NBN rollout, a change in how broadband services will be delivered to fibre to the node, could ultimately change the multicast product.

The strategic review into NBN Co will be handed to the government on December 2.

As part of a recent plan overhaul, Optus last week launched unlimited plans for fixed broadband across ADSL, HFC and the NBN. One of the add ons to the bundle includes FetchTV, but ZDNet understands this is not currently being delivered as part of the multicast trial.

Despite repeated attempts to get a comment from the company last week, NBN Co would not confirm the future of the pilot after November.


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