CableLabs® Issues RFP For OCAP™ Implementations
MSOs Show Strong Support of OCAP™
Louisville, Colorado, August 26, 2002—Cable Television Laboratories, Inc. (CableLabs®) released a Request for Proposal (RFP) on August 20, 2002, for implementations of the OpenCable™ Application Platform (OCAP™) specification. The purpose of the RFP is to solicit industry implementations of OCAP for OpenCable devices to hasten the ability of cable operators to launch new services made possible by OCAP.
OCAP is the �middleware� specification, i.e., software element of the OpenCable project that enables a retail presence for digital-cable-compatible products. OCAP is compatible with European and worldwide standards for set-top middleware being developed by the ITU (International Telecommunication Union—a United Nations signatory organization).
�Procurement of this software by cable operators will enhance services for cable customers,� said William Schleyer president and CEO of AT&T Broadband and originator of the OpenCable project. �Interactive applications on cable will be available from a wide range of national and international developers. Manufacturers will have the advantage of constructing one implementation that can be used throughout the world,� he added.
Cable operators seek information as to the costs and development time in procuring and deploying OCAP implementations. CableLabs is distributing the RFP on behalf of the cable industry as a means of efficiently collecting information from the marketplace. CableLabs will serve as the repository and evaluator of technical information submitted in response to the RFP, whereas information of a commercial nature will be submitted directly from the respondent to each cable operator participating in the process.
Accompanying the RFP is a letter signed by the CableLabs Executive Committee that urges recipients to respond in order to help cable operators make purchase decisions, either buying devices directly or supporting them at retail. Participating cable companies include AT&T Broadband, Charter, Comcast, Cox Communications, and Time Warner Cable.
�CableLabs will evaluate the responses for compliance with the RFP and then distribute the findings to the cable operators,� said Mike Hayashi, Senior Vice President of Advanced Engineering and Subscriber Technology at Time Warner Cable. �There will be no ranking of responses, and no one is going to create an �approved vendor� list as a result of this. All of the purchase decisions that result from this effort will be negotiated directly between the cable operators and the companies that respond. Individual cable operators will make independent and subjective judgments about which, if any, vendors to negotiate with,� Hayashi said.
�Based on the vendor participation in both the specification development and the early interoperability testing, we�re anticipating a great response to this RFP,� said Mark Coblitz, Senior VP of Strategic Planning at Comcast. �The entire cable industry is putting OCAP on a fast track, and individual operators plan to work very closely with all suppliers who are serious about implementing the specification as quickly as possible.�
�In addition to finding out how far along the suppliers are and beginning the negotiation process for OCAP implementations,� Coblitz continued, �we�re also actively pursuing the vendor community to provide technical assistance in developing the CableLabs test environment necessary to ensure that all implementations are fully compliant with the specification.�
All interested parties must advise CableLabs by August 26th regarding their intention to answer the RFP. Final responses to CableLabs and cable operators are due on September 12.
About CableLabs: Cable Television Laboratories (www.cablelabs.com) was founded in 1988 by members of the cable television industry. A non-profit research and development consortium, CableLabs delivers innovations that enable cable operators to be the providers of choice in their markets. Cable operators from around the world are members. CableLabs maintains additional web sites at www.cablenet.org and www.ebif.tv.
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