Monthly Archives: February 2015

Net Neutrality and Ustream, CEO Brad Hunstable on Bloomberg “Market Makers”

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Today, the FCC voted on the issue of net neutrality. A 317-page proposal put forth by Tom Wheeler, chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, detailed plans that reclassifies the Internet as a public utility under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. (Previous “classification” dates back to 2002 when the FCC ruled that cable modem “broadband” services for Internet access be were an “Information Source.”)

Passed by a 3:2 vote by party line, the proposal gives the FCC some regulation authority over ISPs and sets some ground rules with the purpose of providing an open, level playing field for anyone accessing or broadcasting legal content via the Internet.

The proposal put forth is based on input by millions of voices from the public, the White House, and numerous expert testimonials from this past year and even earlier.

This morning, Ustream CEO Brad Hunstable, discussed this hotly debated, politically charged topic on Bloomberg TV’s “Market Makers” with co-hosts Stephanie Ruhle and Matt Miller along with Bloomberg’s Washington DC correspondent, Peter Cook. You can view the program below.

In a nutshell, Brad noted how the Internet is like a new country being formed and that the passage of the plan by the FCC is a good first step in the right direction to creating the initial “bill of rights,” so to speak, in protecting the openness of the Internet and making sure all bits and bytes are treated equal. He noted how the openness of the Internet enabled the creation of Ustream and the company’s continued innovation. Brad also pointed out how the real area needing more openness, more competition, is in the last mile of connection to the consumer where often the viewer has two, one or even no choice of ISP.

The vote today, arguably the biggest of the FCC in a decade, is just another step in the evolution of the Internet and the rules used to guide consumers and companies alike in how to keep this incredible resource open to all and available for innovation. And, just like a new country, the Internet will continue to change how we live, work, play and communicate. Ustream will continue to monitor this topic and any others that might impact our commitment to innovation and delivering the most scalable, reliable, high-quality video communications solution.

Super Bowl Highlights Need for Scalable Streaming

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When the New England Patriots squared off against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIV, more than 1.3 million people experienced the event through NBC’s live streaming video — a 50 percent increase over last year’s online viewership.

According to NBC’s press release, the stream also set Super Bowl records for average viewers per minute (800,000), concurrent users (1.3 million) and total minutes (213 million).

While it was an impressive achievement for live streaming video, it was not without its challenges. As the game progressed, the overwhelming demand resulted in some online viewers experiencing time delays and other technical difficulties.

“NBC is great at streaming live events,” Ustream CTO Gyula Feher told The Daily Dot in an interview regarding the event. “They were the first to stream the Super Bowl in 2012. And, the Super Bowl is the ‘Everest’ of live events: Let’s remember that Super Bowl XLVIII was the most watched television event ever. It’s likely that the peak load on the NBC livestream was similarly record-breaking.”

One of the biggest challenges in streaming a live event, however, is anticipating the bandwidth required, which can vary dramatically from one minute to the next. For example, during Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference, the streams of keynote speeches by CEO Mark Benioff and Hilary Clinton drew record-setting audiences.

One way Ustream has addressed this challenge of being able to scale and anticipate required bandwidth is through a unique technology we developed called Software Defined content delivery network (CDN), or SD-CDN.

SD-CDN provides the ability to scale automatically without manual provisioning of resources, dynamically adding and removing edges and providers as demand requires. The system can leverage a combination of edge resources (e.g. CDN providers, transit lines, peering and ad-hoc edges, etc.) and instantly route traffic among those sources as needed. A built-in monitoring system evaluates in real time the performance and efficacy of each source and can make automatic adjustments as changing conditions require.

What does all this mean for the individual viewer? The best possible quality from beginning to end — and the ability to pre-empt issues that could disrupt the viewing experience.

Now that’s what we call a big win.

Learn about the best solution for your big event here.