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BigBand Networks Switched Broadcast Passes More Than Five Million Households


BigBand Networks, Inc., (NASDAQ: BBND), today announced that its commercial deployments of switched broadcast have now passed more than five million households in the U.S. Three of the top five U.S. cable operators have selected BigBand’s switched broadcast solution. Two of those operators have deployed BigBand’s solution commercially and are using it to switch digital broadcast programs on more than 1 million tuners.

“BigBand Networks pioneered switched digital broadcast and is ramping up commercial deployments at just the right time for the industry,” said Gerry Kaufhold, principal analyst for In-Stat. “Switched digital can allow operators to significantly increase HDTV programming and meet subscriber demand for new services.”

Switched broadcast, sometimes referred to as switched digital video, has generated widespread interest due to its ability to allow operators to expand programming and add new, high-bandwidth services such as HDTV at a relatively low cost per subscriber. In a research report published in January by ABI research, titled “Assessing CATV Bandwidth-Expansion Solutions,” switched digital video is estimated to cost $5-10 per household passed (HHP), far less than the report’s estimated cost of a PON Overlay ($1,000 per HHP) or HFC bandwidth expansion to 1 GHz ($50 per HHP).

By directing live programming only where it is requested by viewers, instead of delivering all programming to all subscribers all the time, BigBand’s switched broadcast is designed to make it easier for cable operators to add more VOD and more “long tail” content traditionally associated with the Internet. BigBand’s solution also actively switches bandwidth-intensive HDTV channels, designed to make HDTV delivery as efficient as possible. BigBand Networks is now deploying its fourth-generation product based on open protocols designed to enable multi-vendor environments and integrate with existing cable networks.

“Our field experience with switched broadcast, and the research and development effort we’ve put into the technology has begun to translate into increased commercial deployment,” said Biren Sood, vice president and manager of cable video Americas for BigBand Networks. “Our switched broadcast solution is mature and stable. Operators are now able to deploy the technology with much greater ease and confidence, and that is one of the reasons why subscriber numbers have grown so rapidly in the last 6-12 months.”

How switched broadcast works

BigBand’s switched broadcast is designed to free up bandwidth for new services and programming while providing a seamless experience for television viewers, who are able to engage in normal program surfing and use of electronic program guides in the switched environment. When a subscriber selects a switched program, a management server system determines whether the program is already being watched in the subscriber’s neighborhood. If the program is already being watched, the subscriber joins the existing session or “stream,” but if not, the program is dynamically switched to that subscriber’s area. As a result of this method, programs do not consume bandwidth in the areas where they are not being watched.

BigBand Networks will present key findings from its switched broadcast deployments as part of the technology program at the NCTA’s Cable Show in Las Vegas, May 7-9. Live demonstrations of switched broadcast in action will be available for viewing in BigBand’s booth at the conference. For additional information about those events, please send email to For more information about switched broadcast, please visit


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