Bridging the digital divide in Guyana with new OTT service to deliver VOD and linear TV channels
Building on ISP platform
With a population of almost 800,000, Guyana in South America is an emerging territory for high-speed Internet services. A pioneer in this sector is Broadband Satellites, one of the first companies to successfully provide broadband internet across the country including many unserviceable and remote areas.
Despite the deployment of widespread broadband connectivity, the development of new internet-based services was frustratingly slow and Broadband Satellites took up the challenge to identify and deliver the next generation of services to Guyanese consumers.
First to market
Brian Yong, CEO and CTO at Broadband Satellites takes up the story: “With 200,000 active Internet subscribers in Guyana and 450,000 with smartphones, there is a large and untapped audience for delivering video and musical content via internet-based channels. We considered this opportunity and began to explore the technological possibilities required to set up such a service.
“Although there are local cable TV companies, no other operators in the Caribbean appeared to be offering OTT services and we were committed to being the first. However, as it transpired, this gap in the market also meant that there was a distinct lack of knowledge about how it could technically be achieved.
“At the time, we were reading up on how to get these services and didn't know what an open data platform was! We’re a relatively small operation and it was clear that we needed some support.”
Experiencing a breakthrough ‘eureka’ moment
Broadband Satellites contracted a number of vendors for its OTT deployment including a traditional online video platform (OVP) provider.
Brian Yong continues: “There was a big learning curve and challenges associated with the selection of multiple vendors for the different components. Our initial OVP partner had targeted to have us up and running in three months but after the first six months of this relationship, we had nothing to show for our time and effort, and were becoming increasingly frustrated.
“It was at this point that we were introduced to SotalCloud OTT Online Video Platform. After our first call SotalCloud gave us free access to a Proof Of Concept instance of their platform and after a couple of hours of customization, we had our first iOS, Android and web apps working.
“We could immediately see the potential from this new solution and it’s unbelievable that we could get it working within the first two hours of trying after more than six months of no progress. The free access to the SotalCloud Proof of Concept was key after the six months experience with the initial vendor and I would recommend to everyone looking at OTT, to make sure you see it working before making your first payment.”
In addition, SotalCloud was able to integrate with DVEO (HLS encoder/transcoder for linear channels and catch-up, nPVR and VOD server) and a Content Delivery Network (CDN) platform from BroadPeak.
Ready for launch
“It’s truly been a rapid and low cost implementation. Because SotalCloud is so very easy to use, I can manage it myself and don’t need a big team. As a tier 3 telco, we’re now set up to launch the service using SotalCloud’s tools,” says Brian Yong.
Broadband Satellites now has comprehensive VOD video libraries uploaded and will be piloting the service using local linear TV channels in Guyana.
“I provided a demonstration to another operator in different Caribbean country who has been building their OTT service over the last two years and, as they could not believe how quickly we have been able to implement such a comprehensive OTT offering.”
SotalCloud enables rapid growth
Brian Yong concludes: “We’re now targeting between 40,000 and 50,000 customers in the next 3-4 years and by the end of this year, plan to launch in other territories in the Caribbean with up to 14 other countries.
“We couldn’t have managed to get into this strong position without the intervention from SotalCloud and will continue to expand their solution as we extend our roll-out of services across the region in partnership with other regional operators.”