Level 3 Beefs Up Joost's Network

Joost, the widely-watched Internet television venture, said today that it has selected Level 3 Communications (LVLT) to provide it with high speed Internet access and colocation services in North America and Europe. The use of Level 3 provides industrial-strength infrasructure support for Joost’s bandwidth-hungry service, which experienced some performance issues in the early going that led some to question whether its network design was sufficient to the task of streaming video.

Joost is a peer-to-peer (P2P) service which started life as the Venice Project. The service has 1 million users in its beta phase, and is scheduled to launch at the end of 2007. Early testing found that its desktop app was downloading 320 megabytes per hour and uploading 105 megabytes, raising the prospect that end users with capped broadband plans would quickly max out their quotas. Joost has said from the start that its P2P distribution would be assisted by centralized servers in Luxembourg, and additional colo sites have since been added in London and Los Angeles.

While Joost’s P2P approach suggests a broadly distributed approach, an analysis of its network performance in May by grad student researchers at Carnegie Mellon found that Joost’s own servers are directly providing users with up to two-thirds of the content. “Although Joost is a peer-to-peer video distribution technology, it relies heavily on a few centralized servers to provide the licensed video content,” the researchers noted. “We see scalability issues in this approach and therefore predict a more distributed architecture in the future.”

Enter Level 3, which operates one of the major Internet backbones, and has more than 4.6 million square feet of colocation space around the world, including a content delivery network (CDN) acquired from Savvis early this year.

“Level 3’s unparalleled global infrastructure and extensive local connectivity make them a logical network partner for Joost,” said Fredrik de Wahl, chief strategy officer of Joost. “We have developed the next generation of television for viewers, content owners and advertisers on a global scale and we are confident that the Level 3 network, with its ability to scale and the quality it delivers, can support our growth well into the future.”

“Joost offers the next generation of television viewing and advertising,” said Brady Rafuse, president and chief executive officer of Level 3 European Markets. “We look forward to supporting their current and future needs for network connectivity and continuing to enable their delivery of high-quality programming that is redefining television entertainment.”

Level 3 offers Internet connectivity in over 175 markets in addition to a comprehensive suite of network services that provide building blocks for its customers’ diverse service offerings. Level 3 has the scale, performance and service portfolio to support content delivery solutions as its customers’ network needs evolve.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.