Rostelecom, Russia: Reshaping content delivery
Rostelecom optimizes its content delivery network, benefiting both content providers and subscribers
Rise in video consumption
In Russia, as in the rest of the world, online traffic is increasing. The last two years have seen over-the-top (OTT) services become widely adopted across many parts of Russia. However, the vast size and the sheer capacity required to facilitate content delivery has left many of the country’s CDN providers unable to meet the rising demand. As a result, a trend has emerged which sees some telecom and Pay TV operators launching their own OTT services – maintaining revenue that previously went straight to pure OTT players.
Rostelecom has a growing number of broadband subscribers connecting to its networks, and has seen a clear rise in video consumption. As an existing provider of IPTV services throughout Russia, it recognized the need to optimize content delivery across its infrastructure, reducing the load on the backbone network and improving quality of experience for its subscribers. This was the reason behind the initiation of the CDN project with Ericsson.
A flexible, scalable solution
The objectives of the project were clear. From a technological perspective, Rostelecom needed a flexible, scalable solution that would support all the latest video streaming technologies, with the ability to cater to both current and future network capacity requirements. But from a practical point of view, it also needed the project to be completed within a challenging eight month timescale – from concept to delivery.
The project was unique due to its architecture and complexity. Its scale was particularly impressive considering the nature of the integration and the quantity of equipment to be delivered and installed. The resulting capacity of Rostelecom’s CDN network is 1 TB per second, split between 28 regional sites from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok. Ericsson and Rostelecom formed a close relationship throughout the project, resulting in a solution that completely satisfied Rostelecom’s requirements.
Saving space and power
"This solution will help us to offer our content providers the best quality for the lowest price, as well as optimize Rostelecom’s network," says Alexey Rogdev, Head of Internet Services and Business Development, Rostelecom. "The delivery hardware is really compact, so we can save both space and power. For Rostelecom it’s a really green solution."
The solution provides Rostelecom with a universal platform, capable of managing content delivery over any type of network. In addition, the solution will allow Rostelecom to expand its capabilities and quickly add new features on the fly. Because the solution enables the delivery of any type of content, be it games, apps or music, Rostelecom will be able to work alongside a broader range of content providers in both OTT video and internet.
The CDN project with Rostelecom was the largest of its kind.
"Together with Rostelecom we have reshaped the features supported by CDN platforms to reflect the actual needs of the content provider market," explains Oleg Yurtaev, Business Development Manager, Ericsson. "We have designed and developed a flexible and universal platform which can be easily replicated in any market, with any operator."
The emergence of operator CDNs
Traffic around the world is growing at an increasing rate. Users want to be free to view content when and where they want, across a multitude of devices. As a result, broadband providers are investing significant amounts in capital expenditure in order to meet consumer demand and deliver a high quality experience. It is for this reason that some telecom operators are now launching their own content delivery networks.
Operator CDNs enable more sustainable business models that reduce the number of links in the value chain from content to consumer. By owning the network infrastructure, they have a competitive advantage over global CDNs in that they can minimize the distance that content needs to travel, and therefore deliver it quickly, reliably, and with guaranteed quality. Since global CDNs must also lease bandwidth from operators, operator CDNs also gain a cost advantage by sidestepping this process.
Ultimately, success for operator CDNs hinges on the ability to effectively capitalize on these advantages, accurately tracking network performance and making network, content, user and device-aware adjustments on the fly to ensure the best experience.
Rostelecom is Russia’s largest national telecommunications operator, with a presence in all regions of the country. It is a universal operator and leader in the broadband and Pay TV markets, with over nine million fixed-line broadband subscribers and over six million Pay TV subscribers.
As Rostelecom has developed its mobile data networks, its position as a major mobile operator has grown. Today, 13 million people subscribe to its mobile voice services. The company has approximately 28 million local fixed-line voice subscribers and is a key player in the corporate and government services segments. Rostelecom is also an important innovator, providing solutions across the fields of medicine, e-government, cloud computing and education.