Bharti Airtel has announced a partnership with Limelight Networks for Content Delivery Network (CDN) services in India. With the agreement Bharti Airtel will be able to deliver rich content from Indian publishers to consumers accessing the Internet through 900 last mile networks which are connected to Limelight Networks’ global platform. Limelight routes traffic over a private fibre optic network rather than the Internet, avoiding the traffic, which it claims will provide faster delivery. According to some Indian publishers we had spoken to in the past, until this deal, Limelight was primarily servicing the Indian market via its offices in Singapore.
Interestingly, Rajan Swaroop, Executive Director Enterprise Services, estimates that India’s Indian CDN market will grow to US $100 million by 2014. No source of that data has been mentioned.
What a CDN Does
Access to content on the Internet is via a series of peer-to-peer commercial arrangements between ISPs – the cheapest, but not always the most efficient arrangement. This impacts the speed at which sites load. Publishers use CDNs to provide a consistent speed and faster speeds of access (and hence advertising delivery), apart from provide alternate routes for access, in case any particular series of links goes down.
Apart from Limelight, CDNs in the Indian market that we’re aware of include:
- Akamai (believed to be the market leader) in India
- Bitgravity (in which Tata Communications/VSNL had invested $11.5 million in convertible debt). BitGravity also recently launched a data center in Pune with an initial investment of Rs 1250 million and with plans to invest Rs 5000 million more in the next three years based on market demand.
- Marcellus: the Pune based CDN startup recently announced a deal with Jagran Prakashan. Correction: Marcellus is based in Gurgaon, and isn’t a CDN. It has integrated with Amazon Cloudfront CDN. Thanks for correcting Preetam.
According to their website Limelight Networks also powers Microsoft’s Silverlight and Rashri Media. Other customers include DreamWorks which used Limelight Networks as their CDN provider for Shrek 2 and now use it with all their current and upcoming projects. Electronic Arts, GameShadow, IFILM, MSNBC.com and Mydeo are other customers of the CDN service.