The video content internet market is in a state of change. "Over the Top" (OTT) video has grown exponentially over the past 10 years while Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have not received any incremental revenue in order to expand their network capacity. As some academic researchers have stated technologists are particularly adept at routing packets through the entire network, but have not figured out how to "route money" through some of those Internet bottlenecks. I Access network operator ISPs face a significant challenge. They must continue expanding the capacity of their networks while not receiving an incremental compensation for the exponentially increasing demand on that access network capacity. nterStream seeks to rectify this situation by allowing ISPs to charge for higher quality bandwidth. Rather than either simply ever expanding "dumb pipes" and attempting to thwart the demand by capping consumer demand (e.g. Net Neutrality Regulatory Challenges), InterStream's seeks to make the "pipes smart." In other words, access network ISPs can avoid most if not all regulatory challenges by making their pipes "smart" and charging for the quality of bandwidth rather than the quantity consumed by the end-customer.
Today, under the Internet's existing best-effort paradigm, customers purchase "better than" best-effort service through the use of Content Delivery Networks or cloud-based edge services (e.g. Amazon CloudFront. These services rely on reducing round trip time to create a premium service for video bandwidth buyers and consumers. Although, this approach still uses a best-effort transport, a performance premium is granted to the video flows using these services because of the cache placement within the network. InterStream proposes to enable new premium services in a two-step fashion (see Pilot). First, ISPs can place Media Grid Engine caches within their network with far lower latency (and thus round trip times) than "off network" caches such as those from CDN and cloud providers. Effectively, the better placement of these caches will offer a superior consumer experience to any of the other best-effort transport methods. Secondly, these caches as well as off network bandwidth sellers can obtain true guaranteed services through the use of mediation technology and transit keys. Using a guaranteed service infrastructure, allows the ISPs to receive a higher settlement fee and provides consumers with the ultimate best-experience in consuming video. By allowing for a two-step transition, ISPs can move immediately toward deployment and signal their strategic intent to put in place guaranteed service models on their networks while neatly avoiding any regulatory challenges.
In addition, under a generalized settlement framework, InterStream enables "money to be routed" to both the bottlenecks as well as to the parties offering content, advertising, or syndication. Using this approach, access network ISPs with fixed or mobile broadband customers may offer billing services as well. By directly billing their customers for media grid services, these ISPs can provide opt-in consumer demographics and receive a percentage of streaming transaction revenues as a result. As an incentive, InterStream will permit only those ISPs who have enabled guaranteed service to participate in this program. By implementing the Media Grid, ISPs can enable their end-consumers with the highest quality experience while providing themselves with new revenue streams in the process.