Bandwidth costs keep optimization in sight

In the struggle for survival and increasing ARPU, the one stumbling block operators in several markets face is consumer’s insatiable demand for international bandwidth.
Despite a steady fall in prices, the cost of international bandwidth still poses a challenge to operators’ bottom lines, particularly in the emerging markets of APAC and Africa.
This operational challenge is especially prevalent in Southeast Asia, says Christopher Casey, director of Blue Coat’s service provider business. “The growing popularity of Web 2.0 has resulted in escalating demand for access to social media portals and video content from sites such as YouTube and Daily Motion.
“Unlike markets such as Japan and Korea that have a healthy demand for domestic content, operators in countries such as Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia all face a similar issue with the rising cost of international bandwidth.”
Thailand’s True Internet, the country’s largest ISP, is no exception. The firm had to cope with upgrading user’s bandwidth speed packages in order to stay competitive, yet not compromise on the quality of service.
True’s bid to lower international bandwidth costs led it to install Blue Coat’s CacheFlow 5000 appliances in its network slightly over a year ago.
The CacheFlow 5000 appliance is tailored toward containing costs for international bandwidth, said Casey. The product focuses on caching Web 2.0 content that customers frequently access, in particular large files such as rich media and video, so content is delivered more efficiently. Blue Coat claims international bandwidth costs can be reduced by up to 50% with this appliance.
The appliance uses transparent caching of popular content so latency is reduced and common video viewing issues such as pixellation and buffering are minimized. Network slowdowns that may occur due to traffic spikes are also covered.
Blue Coat claims the product contains protection from spyware and malware and can be placed in geographically dispersed PoPs in rural regions, or close to ADSL gateways in populous cities.
True’s chief technical officer Viriya Upatising, claimed the deployment had helped the firm deliver high bandwidth savings, while improving the quality of content delivery to True’s users.
The appliance is currently being deployed by Telecom New Zealand, Zimbabwe’s Africom and Kuwait’s Fast Telco.