Mediacom Taps Qwilt For OTT Video Quality Boost

Mediacom Communications has rolled out a transparent video caching platform from Qwilt as part of an effort to improve the quality of online video that it’s delivering to customers via the operator’s broadband network.

Financial details were not disclosed, but the deal marks the first announced agreement with a major U.S. cable operator for the three-year-old startup. Choice Cable of Puerto Rico announced a deal with Qwilt earlier this year. Qwilt has deals with other, still unnamed U.S. and international cable operators, a Qwilt spokeswoman said.

Qwilt’s flagship product is the QB-Series Video Fabric Controller, a platform that monitors video traffic on operator networks, identifies popular and trending video titles, and then stores those titles at the edge of the subscriber network so MSOs and other carriers can save on online video transport costs.

"As a major cable operator, we need a cost-effective way to extend our network infrastructure, while improving the quality of viewing experience," said JR Walden, senior vice president of technology at Mediacom Communications, in a statement. "We selected Qwilt for their innovative approach to online video delivery."

"We are helping Mediacom create a network architecture that will scale for the future of online video,” added Qwilt CEO and co-founder Alon Maor.

Qwilt’s platform is “transparent” in the sense that it can track and monitor online video from a broad array of sources, including Netflix and YouTube, enabling the operator to manage the flow of over-the-top video traversing its networks while also cutting down on OTT video transport costs.

Transparent caching  is becoming increasingly popular among ISPs as they seek out alternatives to single-service caching systems being pitched by Netflix, Google and other companies that deliver OTT video services.

Netflix, for example, has been gathering some traction for Open Connect, a private caching system that it is offering for free to ISPs alongside access to its library of “Super HD” and 3D content. Time Warner Cable has been especially critical of Open Connect over claims that the program unfairly holds back content in an attempt to get preferential treatment from ISPs.

Mediacom meanwhile, has been managing online video usage in other ways. Earlier this month, the operator introduced a new set of usage-based broadband policies that charge extra ($10 for a bucket of 50 gigabytes) when broadband customers exceed their monthly consumption caps.

Qwilt, which signed a CDN partnership with Limelight Networks in May and counts PeerApp among its competitors, raised a $16 million Series C round of funding in July that extended its total to about $40 million. At the time, Qwilt said it would use the new funds to help it expand its international sales and engineering teams and further the development of its flagship product.