Chorus plans to launch in May a proof of concept trial of direct broadcasting to consumers’ homes over its fibre network, with guaranteed capacity sufficient to deliver programming in 4K or 8K.
It says the service will be delivered to consumers’ TVs through a second port on the optical network terminal installed in homes, and will operate in parallel to any broadband service provided over the fibre.
Chorus says it expects the service will be of interest to local broadcasters looking for a way to provide their content to viewers without requiring an ISP partner or without developing an over the top application that runs over the public internet and therefore makes quality control more challenging.
Sky TV and Freeview have already flagged plans to participate in the trials.
Chorus CEO Kate McKenzie, said that, by 2022, New Zealand’s fibre network would have greater coverage of the population than terrestrial broadcasting.
“As consumer demands for ever greater quality of video such as 4K, along with emerging technologies like multi-camera and interactive services, continue to grow, it’s clear that traditional broadcasting technologies will be challenged to meet those demands long term,” she said.
“Without this proposed Chorus service, local broadcasters will need to partner with major ISPs while facing competition from massive overseas content companies, and this dynamic could put the ability to tell local stories and produce local content at risk.”
She said Chorus would aim to provide the service “on an entirely equivalent basis to all local content providers who are interested.”
Chorus said it remained committed to providing congestion free broadband.
“The sizeable capacity in the fibre network, along with the ease with which even greater capacity can be added at a later date if required, means the broadcasting service would be able to run in parallel without impacting on broadband use at any time.”
It has given no indication of what bandwidth will be used to deliver services, which areas the trial will run in, or when a commercial service might launch.
Amazon recommends at least 15Mbps for receiving 4K, Netflix advises 25Mbps. It’s been estimated that 8K could require 80Mbps or even 100Mbps.