Internet TV gets the nod from NBN, with telcos soon to broadcast HD, Ultra HD videos.

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‘4K’ or ‘ultra high definition television’ channels will soon be a reality in Oz, thanks to multicast technology being integrated into the high speed fibre network, NBN Co announced today.

From today, telcos and ISPs are now able to sign up to use its Multicast feature, and marks a “new age of TV innovation,” the national broadband company said.

Next gen 4K technology (3840X2160 pixels) requires far more bandwidth than many existing networks can support, usually around 100-200Mb per channel. Currently there are no video hosting services delivering 4K content.

Multicast offers dedicated bandwidth to deliver high quality video to premises hooked up to the NBN and means ISPs can offer “more ‘triple-play’ bundles of a home phone, high speed internet and high definition television” says NBN Co Head of Product Development, Jim Hassell.

“It could also have significant effects on the way viewers consume content,” he added. Aussie TV viewers can also interact with, or even participate in, their favourite shows.

Multicast now allows ISP’s to distribute a single piece of data to many end-users – and is more cost-effective compared to Unicast method of delivering Internet Protocol TV service content, currently used.

So what new video servicesmight telco’s now offer?

“Pretty much anything they dream up,” NBN Co’s Tim Stone told SmartHouse.

Over time, Multicasting will be used for purposes beyond broadcasting IPTV, including online education, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) updates for businesses or updating software on smart-meters, which most Aussie households will have in years to come.

The Apple iOS 6 software update delivered last week, Android updates,  office software suite–basically any software update, regardless of the size–could be delivered via Multicast, NBN Co Product Development Business Manager, adds.

“We left the platform open so its fairly generic,” for telco’s to offer what they like

Multicasting also means every school in NSW could watch a video simultaneously or in the case of telehealth, a patient can engage in video conferencing call with a nurse, via the NBN. “But the big business opportunity at the moment for telcos is IPTV,” says Stone.

Telstra with its existing IPTV service T-Box, and Foxtel and Austar are all looking at this IPTV space.


Internode trialled Multicasting earlier this year at NBN Co’s Test Facility in Docklands, Melbourne.

Internode’s spokesperson would not be drawn on specific plans, saying it had nothing to announce at the moment, but said “fetchTV is the main one at the moment that would be distributed via Multicast” but added, “the world’s moving to video.”

In other words, watch this space.

FetchTV, the Internet Protocol TV service offered by Internode, iiNet, and Optus are currently distributed over ADSL, and this new feature on the NBN now means it can be streamed more efficiently and at higher speeds.

The Multicast feature is designed so that service providers can inject broadcast IPTV channels into one or more of NBN Co’s 121 points of interconnect (POI), each of which serves around 150,000 premises.

However, Multicasting won’t be available on NBN wireless and satellite services yet, but Stone says the NBN Co are currently examining this issue and hope to roll it out to the services in the future.

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