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News

CableLabs Welcomes Two New Members: Liberty Latin America and Packerland Broadband

Chris Lammers
Chief Operating Officer

Oct 11, 2018

CableLabs is excited to welcome our 60th and 61st members to our global cable industry family: Liberty Latin America and Packerland Broadband.

Liberty Latin America

Continuing our commitment to the international cable community, we welcome Liberty Latin America (LLA) to CableLabs. LLA split off from Liberty Global, also a member of CableLabs, in January 2018 and launched as an independent, publicly-traded company. LLA is the leading telecommunications company in Latin America serving 20 consumer markets and over 30 B2B markets with operations in Chile, Panama, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and beyond. As of June 30, 2018, LLA has 5.3 million RGUs (video, broadband and fixed-line telephony subscribers), together with 3.5 million mobile subscribers.

LLA operates a network of over 50,000 kilometers of sub-sea and terrestrial fiber that connects over 40 markets in the region, providing connectivity both within and outside its operating footprint. LLA is led by Balan Nair, President and CEO, an experienced and proven business executive with more than 20 years in the telecommunications industry. He has been a part of the Liberty family of companies since 2007, most recently as Executive Vice President and Chief Technology and Innovation Officer for Liberty Global.

Packerland Broadband

From the heartland of America, we welcome Packerland Broadband, a division of CCI Systems which is 100% employee-owned. Established in 2007, Packerland provides video, broadband and voice services to 9,000 customers in 60 communities throughout northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Packerland uses a variety of access technologies to deliver residential services, including traditional HFC, FTTH, fixed wireless and satellite resale. As of June 2018, Packerland Broadband offered its UltraConnect gigabit service to 40 of the 60 communities it serves – bringing the fastest broadband to rural America.

In February of this year, Packerland Broadband and Microsoft announced an agreement to provide broadband internet access to approximately 82,000 people living in rural regions of Michigan and Wisconsin over the next four years using a combination of fixed and wireless technologies, including innovative applications of TV white spaces, LTE, 5 GHz and millimeter wave technologies. Packerland is launching, in conjunction with Microsoft, digital literacy training programs to help educate its customers on how to embrace and safely use the Internet, especially the elderly.

Why CableLabs Membership?

Membership allows LLA and Packerland to both contribute and profit from our global community. With our international reach, we focus on achieving several objectives:

  • Alignment: Assure alignment with CableLabs technologies across the global cable community.
  • Adoption: Achieve global scale, and therefore low-cost solutions, through the adoption of common technologies by cable operators worldwide.
  • Collaboration: Collaborate with global partners to share experiences, exchange best practices, and advance innovation throughout the cable industry.

For over 30 years, we’ve worked with some of the biggest players in the cable industry to research and develop cutting-edge technologies across 5 continents. We bring together the best and brightest minds in the industry, allowing our members to shape innovation roadmaps and develop boundary-stretching products and services to better serve their customers and their changing needs.

By becoming a CableLabs member, you will get the support you need to innovate, develop and test next-generation products that will shape the future. You get exclusive access to our quarterly R&D reports, competitive assessments of innovation focus areas, such as AI, deep network technologies, gigabit technologies, security, and more. Attendance at our member-only global events, like our Summer Conference 2018, provides access to world-class thinkers and creators in our industry, its vendor communities, and complementary industries.

We look forward to bringing on more global members to foster innovation worldwide. This benefits our cable operator members as well as our product suppliers and component manufacturers. As a sharing community, all our members grow and profit from each other’s market experiences. You can find more information about CableLabs membership benefits, including how to become a member by clicking below.


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Virtualization

Crack the NFV Code for Free with our New NFV 101 Training Course

Paul Fonte
Project Manager

Oct 9, 2018

Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and virtualization are transitioning from “buzz words” to reality. As this transition takes place, our members and other players in the ecosystem are asking:

  • What is NFV at its core?
  • How will it impact my operations?
  • What does it mean for my long-term strategy?

In an attempt to answer those questions, CableLabs has developed an NFV 101 training course. This seven-part training series:

  • Introduces NFV basics,
  • Key NFV requirements,
  • Use cases,
  • Current industry landscape,
  • The role of open source and standards,
  • And the future trends we’re expecting from this technology.

NFV will play a key role in shaping how we operate as an industry. With that in mind, this course was designed for anybody who wants to learn more about the technology. Let’s explore in more detail what to expect from each part of the series:

Part 1: NFV Basics

This section will lay the foundational building blocks by exploring what NFV is at its core. You will also find examples of how the technology will impact the network and where SDN plays a role with NFV.

NFV Basics

Part 2: Key NFV Requirements

For NFV implementations to be successful, key requirements must be met. This section explores what those requirements are and how to manage those requirements as you encounter them. These key requirements are:

  • Cloud-based network topology implementation
  • Environmental considerations (e.g., space, power)
  • Performance (e.g., latency, throughput)
  • Security
  • License management
  • Availability (e.g., reliability, resilience, fault management)

Part 3: NFV Use Cases

NFV presents some compelling use cases, and in this section, we’ll explore some of the most prominent that we’re seeing in the industry, including vFirewall, vCCAP Core with Remote PHY Device (RPD), and SD-WAN. This section also discusses how each use case will impact your operations and customer base.

NFV Use Cases

Part 4: Industry Landscape

In this section of the training, we will dive more deeply into the NFV architecture and what role each of the major components plays. This section will also highlight what roles network services and Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) play within NFV, along with how ETSI has impacted the development and maturity of this technology.

NFV Architecture

Part 5: Relevant Open-Source Projects

As NFV technology has matured, so have open-source initiatives to improve the technology and interoperability. This section will review the major open-source initiatives and the role they play within the architecture.

Relevant Open Source Projects

Part 6: CableLabs and NFV

As open source and standards mature and shape the future of NFV, CableLabs is playing a key role in helping shape those groups for the entire cable ecosystem. CableLabs has developed a program called SDN & NFV Application Platform and Stack (SNAPS™). SNAPS is the overarching program that provides the foundation for virtualization projects and deployment leveraging SDN and NFV. CableLabs spearheaded the SNAPS project to fill in gaps in the open-source community and to ease the adoption of SDN/NFV for our cable members.

CableLabs and NFV

Part 7: Future Trends

Leveraging NFV, cable is poised for the future with the best access network. In this section, we will review where NFV and SDN can take cable networks, along with what to expect from NFV as the technology matures and grows with production implementations.

Three Waves of NFV

If you have any questions about the content, contact me at p.fonte@cablelabs.com. If you would like to request a live training session of the course, contact Amar Kapadia at akapadia@aarnanetworks.com. To review the video series of the training, click below.


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Energy

#EEDay2018

Debbie Fitzgerald
Director of Technology Policy and Director of the Energy Efficiency Program

Oct 5, 2018

Today is Energy Efficiency Day, a collaborative effort of regional and national organizations working to promote energy efficiency. CableLabs has been a strong supporter of energy efficiency for many years and is involved in a number of related initiatives:

CableLabs leads the technical efforts for three highly impactful energy efficiency Voluntary Agreements (VA) in North America:

As an example of impact, the US Set-Top Box VA is estimated to have saved nearly 30 Terawatt hours of energy over the five years it has been in place. This equates to over $3.5 billion dollars in savings for consumers and avoids over 20 million metric tons of CO2 emissions (the same as 4.4 million passenger cars driven for a full year). The industry achieved these remarkable results while rolling out new, innovative features and capabilities such as voice-controlled remotes and 4K video.

CableLabs plays an active role in the SCTE•ISBE Energy 2020 Program, and I have the honor of being a judge in the SCTE•ISBE Adaptive Power Challenge later this month at the SCTE•ISBE Cable-Tec Expo where six finalists will present their innovative approaches to reducing network power consumption.

CableLabs designs energy efficiency into our specifications. As an example, the DOCSISÒ 3.1 protocol considered energy efficiency up front when developing the protocol, and designed DOCSIS Light Sleep (DLS). First generation DOCSIS 3.1 modems being deployed today offer five times the broadband speeds of DOCSIS 3.0 modems using no additional energy.

We are also focused on energy efficiency in our workplace. Our building in Louisville, CO has motion-controlled lighting throughout so that the lights are on only when we need them. We focus on decommissioning and turning off servers and equipment when they are not in use.  We have installed eight electric vehicle charging stations at our office and there is constant competition for them. We also provide free bus passes to all our employees to encourage taking the bus whenever possible, and we have community bicycles that employees can use to run errands or simply to take a break and get some fresh air.

CableLabs is excited to promote energy efficiency around the world. Happy Energy Efficiency Day to all! #EEDay2018

How to Learn More

Read the CableLabs Inform[ED] Insights Paper - Energy Efficiency Through Industry Action
Read Energy Blog Topics at CableLabs Blog
Watch the Webinar on the Energy Efficiency Voluntary Agreements

 

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Policy

Legislators at the Labs

Rob Alderfer
VP, Technology Policy

Oct 3, 2018

Eighty politicians walked into a lab... That's not the start of a joke, it was actually the start of our week here at CableLabs! We were excited and honored to host state representatives and senators from across the U.S. on Monday, and to show them the exciting innovation happening in the cable industry.

Our day was all about innovating the future of connectivity. We started by talking about the deployment of gigabit networks, which now reach the majority of Americans, and we showed them the research that makes these services a reality over the existing hybrid fiber coaxial networks of the cable industry. We talked about the importance of wireless connectivity and spectrum research, since everyone connects to broadband via Wi-Fi, and a majority of CableLabs' members are also mobile operators. We focused on cybersecurity – an increasingly important area, given the growth of connected (‘IoT’) devices – and what we are doing to help as part of the broader Internet ecosystem. And finally, no visit to CableLabs would be complete without experiencing the applications that ride over gigabit networks – immersive media, virtual reality, and the holographic effects of light fields were a highlight, and are featured in our latest Near Future film.

So, what do you get when you have eighty politicians in the Labs? Lots of questions! How should we think about 5G? What can we do to extend broadband service to areas that don’t have access? How can we realize the educational possibilities that come with broadband?

All great questions, and at a high level, the answer is that there is no one single technology solution. That is why CableLabs is pushing the envelope of performance on cable, fiber, and wireless, and other technologies, bringing next-generation connectivity to consumers.

But, there is a common thread for policymakers: The innovations we develop at CableLabs are all at least three years away from being realized in the market. The policy environment can help to put new technologies into the hands of consumers through stable, predictable, and consistent policy that is conducive to investment and risk-taking. Since there is that interaction between technology policy and innovation, we appreciated the opportunity to host a great group of elected representatives this week.

CableLabs is the global innovation hub for the cable industry and provides leaders across the globe with technology insights on which to base decisions of significance.
To learn more about Rob and CableLabs tech policy work, please click here.

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Events

CableLabs at SCTE-ISBE Cable-Tec Expo® 2018: Learn How We’re Inventing the Future

Ralph Brown
SVP & CTO, R&D

Sep 26, 2018

It’s that time of year again! SCTE-ISBE Cable-Tec Expo brings cable and broadband professionals from around the world together to share trends, innovations and emerging technologies. At this year’s event, we’ll continue to demonstrate how CableLabs’ innovations make next-generation broadband available today and provide solutions for tomorrow’s connectivity challenges.

Here’s a sneak peek of what we’re covering:

  • Distributed Access Architecture (DAA): Back by popular demand! We’ll discuss how the CableLabs defined Remote PHY and Flexible MAC Architecture (FMA), which includes the R-MACPHY technology, save operators money and play an essential role in the next generation of cable networks.
  • Energy Efficiency: CableLabs provides technical leadership to the industry through influencing energy efficiency voluntary agreements for set-top boxes and small network equipment. We are participating in judging the SCTE Energy 2020 Challenge where two teams will win the opportunity to work with a cable operator to further develop their ideas.
  • Full Duplex DOCSIS® 3.1 Technology: Full Duplex DOCSIS technology has the potential to deliver up to 10 gigabits per second of symmetric broadband capacity over the coax portion of the network. We’ll give our update on the next evolution of DOCSIS technology and how CableLabs is preparing to support speed and latency requirements of the future.
  • 5G and Broadband Connectivity: 5G wireless networks will require tight integration with high performing fixed broadband networks to offer high capacity, low latency mobile services. We’ll touch upon the latest developments in the intersection between mobile 5G and DOCSIS/ HFC infrastructure and how CableLabs is developing the necessary tools for cable field operators to strategically and technically support 5G.
  • Proactive Network Maintenance (PNM): Mother nature isn’t known for her predictably and can cause disruptions in your network. Using CableLabs’ PNM model, you’ll learn how to use machine learning, artificial intelligence and real-time weather analytics to predict the best time to conduct customer repairs to minimize disruptions.
  • Fiber to the Home (FTTH) Deployments: Fiber to the home has been deployed across the world by different companies and public institutions. We’ll cover the latest in the standards debates about the technical and economic feasibility of high bit rate.

CableLabs subject matter experts are moderating panel discussions, leading seminars and CEO and President Phil McKinney is speaking at the opening ceremony. Our lineup of speakers and moderators include:

Through our 61 member companies worldwide, partnerships with top-tier universities and a collaborative ecosystem inside and outside the cable industry, CableLabs is able to create global impact. We are looking forward to seeing you in Atlanta from Oct. 22-25. Visit us at Booth #713 to learn more about how CableLabs is continuing to make breakthroughs towards our vision of a connected future.


Learn More about Cable-Tec Expo

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30th Anniversary

Technology in Your Everyday Life: Why You Should Pay Attention to Innovation

Sep 21, 2018

If you were around 30 years ago, you may recall using a payphone, writing a check, or strolling down the street with your Walkman. All of those conveniences of 30 years ago don’t seem all that convenient today. In just three decades, the span of CableLabs' entire existence, we went from analog to digital, from payphones to smartphones, from libraries to the internet. Now we wake up every day ready for the next big thing.

While you may get excited about the latest new device or app you probably don’t give much thought about what lies behind the next big thing. So long as the device or app works why should you care?

Reason #1: Cybersecurity

Like it or not, your life is online. This comes with many benefits, like convenience and accessibility, but also a few risks.

When CableLabs was formed in 1988, a huge chunk of our innovation efforts focused on television and improving the viewing experience. Fast forward to today: your TV is now connected to your network, just like your phone and a myriad of other smart devices you can’t live without. Many of them have digital eyes and ears, a.k.a. cameras and microphones, that aren’t secure. That’s why a lot of our work today centers on cybersecurity. Whether you’re streaming a YouTube video or making an online payment, it’s very important to use secure devices.

Cable operators have a long history of successfully defending against attackers seeking to steal your service, customer data and video content. We’ve enabled cable-based security technologies to be leveraged in the wider internet ecosystem, including in Wi-Fi hotspots, smart grid devices and medical communications through our subsidiary Kyrio. The cable industry also provides broad-based technology thought leadership on security through substantial contributions to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the Messaging, Malware and Mobile Anti-Abuse Working Group (M3AAWG), Wi-Fi Alliance and the Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group (BITAG), among other leading technical bodies.

Reason #2: Networks

You may not realize it, but bandwidth and network speed have become just as important as your other utilities. You can’t have the next big thing without them.

Just like we don’t care about electricity unless the lights go out, we don’t pay attention to how much data we use until it’s gone. We download and upload all day long without giving it much thought unless there is congestion somewhere on the network. As new bandwidth-hungry technologies, such as VR/AR, AI, and autonomous vehicles, become more mainstream, the demands on network bandwidth will increase. One of CableLabs’ main focus areas is building better and faster networks capable of supporting these new and future technologies.

Reason #3: Sustainability

Technology and its byproducts affect our planet, so how we innovate and use technology is just as important as the benefits it provides.

Recycling is great, but we can all do more. CableLabs’ unique position within the communications industry gives us an opportunity to drive policy priorities that focus on greener, more energy-efficient products. Through technological development and voluntary energy agreements with manufacturers, our industry has achieved rapid energy efficiency gains—proof that we can drive sustainability. That’s great for business and even better for our planet.

These are just a few of the many reasons to stay on top of technology and innovation trends. We’ve been doing it for the last 30 years! Please watch our Near Future videos and click below to visit our 30th Anniversary site to learn more about CableLabs and how our technology affects your everyday life.


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Innovation

Living the Gigabit Internet Dream

Mark Walker
Director, Technology Policy

Sep 20, 2018

“Gigabit” is the Internet dream. It means connectivity at blazing-fast speeds, with enough bandwidth for any device imaginable, where the online world is your oyster. Cable is rapidly making this dream a reality by making gigabit Internet service available to consumers.

Looking back just a couple of years, the prospect of widely available gigabit service was unimaginable. As of December 2016, only 4% of US housing units had cable gigabit available. In just fifteen months, cable operators in the US have increased that number by 14X. CableLabs regularly surveys our members, and we know that as of March 2018, 56% of US housing units – 66% of the cable broadband footprint – had gigabit service or better available from their local cable operator. That number is poised to climb higher as DOCSIS 3.1 technology is deployed across cable networks.

 

Gigabit Internet Speeds

But, This is Only the Beginning of the Story

CableLabs and the cable industry are investing in further network innovations to enable broadband technology to stay well ahead of customer demand for years to come.

Over the past 35 years, available consumer Internet speeds have followed what is known as Nielsen’s Law, increasing at roughly a 50% compound annual growth rate. Gigabit service is just the latest step in the history of ever-increasing speeds. If past is prologue, we can expect to see the availability of 10-gigabit service offerings around 2024, enabling experiences that are difficult to imagine today.

gigabit internet

Pushing the Gigabit Internet Envelope

The cable industry is preparing for our ever-faster future. We’re examining each segment of the network and developing new technologies to advance the performance of cable networks. The main elements of our work to drive further capacity and performance are:

  • DOCSIS: CableLabs is currently working to commercialize the next generation of DOCSIS technology. Full Duplex DOCSIS 3.1 will enable cable operators to provide symmetric gigabit service to customers – eliminating the upstream constraint and fully unleashing the power of cable.
  • Fiber: To ensure sufficient capacity in the fiber portion of the cable network, CableLabs has focused on adapting coherent optics. Coherent optic technologies have the potential to increase the per-strand capacity in cable networks by orders of magnitude over currently available digital optics technologies. This is an essential element in cable’s fiber-rich networks to deliver greater performance for consumers.
  • Wireless: We all experience our broadband service through our Wi-Fi connection. So, our ability to take full advantage of cable network advancements depends on the performance of that Wi-Fi connection. To ensure the reliability and improve the overall performance of Wi-Fi, CableLabs has developed protocols for Wi-Fi proactive network maintenance (Wi-Fi PNM) to quickly solve connectivity problems, advanced global standards for Wi-Fi to usher in next-generation technologies, and increased wireless bandwidth through spectrum policy engagement.

The continued innovations of CableLabs and the cable industry have enabled cable operators to provide broadband service that is well ahead of consumer demand. Cable networks are high-capacity, efficient, and future-ready to meet ever-increasing consumer demand for broadband performance.

For more information on how the cable industry is driving gigabit speeds from the lab to the consumer, please click below. 


Learn How We Are Enabling Gigabit Speeds

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Innovation

UpRamp’s Innovation Economy: The Teltoo™ Story

Scott Brown
VP of Technology Outreach & Managing Director of UpRamp

Sep 14, 2018

In this next part of our CableLabs Innovation Ecosystem Series—which we began with“Transforming Ideas into Solutions”— we continue our discussion on CableLabs' subsidiary UpRamp® and the startup ecosystem. You can read more about UpRamp in my blog "How UpRamp is on a Mission to Fix the Innovation Economy for the Connectivity Industry."

Every organization needs a raison d’etre. UpRamp’s is to introduce the incredible technology emerging from the global startup ecosystem into the connectivity industry - not only supporting entrepreneurship worldwide, but also driving innovation in cable and broadband and enabling customers to stay better connected.  

As many of the startups that go through our programs learn, creating a product that really tackles an issue in the connectivity industry takes time. The industry is unique and its specific needs demand that startups spend significant time figuring out the value of their product to the market and customizing their offering accordingly.

These needs are why we’ve created a complete ecosystem of programs designed to help entrepreneurs engage with the connectivity industry:

  • Whether they are at the seed stage,
  • Growing an established startup,
  • Or are a founder that has exited.

Our programs allow startups to validate their learnings and build their products to address specific, key issues in the connectivity space. By beginning the iterative process from the seed stage, we’re allowing startups to embed themselves into this stable industry - one that is deeply entrenched in the lives of consumers and businesses around the globe.

Now, nearly three years in, we’ve been tracking the paths of the startups that have gone through our programs, and it’s inspiring to see the impact that the connections we create have on global entrepreneurship and on innovation within our industry.

One of Those Startups is Teltoo™, and This is Their Story

Founded in 2015 in Madrid, Spain, Teltoo was originally conceived when CPO and co-founder Sergio Diaz Miguel Coca was trying (and failing) to send a video of his niece to his sister from his smartphone. He built a compression algorithm to combat the issue and realized it was something he could monetize. But over time, the software evolved completely.

UpRamp Ecosystem Teltoo

Today, Teltoo’s backend solution enables Multiple System Operators (MSOs) and content providers to utilize upstream speeds alongside download speeds during live broadcasts, allowing for bandwidth optimization and improving the customer experience by enabling live streaming without buffering.

In 2016, after the startup’s software evolved, Teltoo was accepted into the first cohort of the Virgin Media Accelerator in London, powered by Techstars and backed by Liberty Global, where they were mentored by me. After graduating from that program, they were invited to pitch at the UpRamp Innovation Showcase at Cable Congress in Brussels in the spring of 2017, before being invited to join the second cohort of the UpRamp Fiterator later that same year.

Teltoo and the Cable and Broadband Industry

After graduating from Fiterator last November, Teltoo has secured funding directly from Liberty Global and has moved headquarters to Colorado to be in the physical proximity of some of CableLabs’ largest members.

UpRamp has been, and remains, closely engaged with Teltoo - as investors, advisors, and connectors in the industry - so we’ve been able to see how they’ve evolved in the past two years. Most notably, while in the Fiterator, Teltoo pivoted their product entirely in order to best suit the needs of cable and broadband. This decision was made based on the knowledge that they gained from time spent with CableLabs members and executives. Their move to the Denver area similarly shows a strong commitment to the industry. The tractions they’ve gained since they began their UpRamp journey is a testament to the synergies that the connectivity industry and the startup ecosystem can find together.

The startups that are accepted into UpRamp’s programs are hand-selected for their ability to fundamentally change connectivity. Their technologies, laid on top of the infrastructure developed and managed by CableLabs members, will enable consumers and businesses to connect to each other faster, more reliable, and more seamlessly.

Teltoo’s Story is Not Unique

In UpRamp’s three years, we’ve helped many startups find their feet in the connectivity industry - whether through product ideation with Boomtown, enabling initial contact with the industry through Innovation Showcase, or finding product-market fit with the Fiterator.

In the future, we look forward to seeing more startups move through the UpRamp programs sequentially, as did Teltoo and 2017 Fiterator alum Xogo. As they do, UpRamp will continue to be the bridge between cutting-edge innovations and our members, building the innovation economy that will enable the connectivity industry to continue to delight its customers.

To learn more about how UpRamp helps build a strong relationship between CableLabs members and the global startup ecosystem, visit their site. 


Visit UpRamp for More Information

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Wireless

  Better Home Networks: How EasyMesh™ Delivers Intelligent Wi-Fi

John Bahr
Lead Architect, Wireless Technologies

Sep 11, 2018

Today, many people view Wi-Fi as an essential component in their home. However, people routinely experience connectivity issues because networks aren't capable of broadcasting their Internet signal adequately and uniformly throughout their home or business. CableLabs is working with the Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA), and its new EasyMesh™ certification program, to solve this problem and provide extended, uniform coverage throughout your entire home.

Watch our video below to learn about the benefits of Wi-Fi EasyMesh™ and how the certification program will create better home networks by bringing network intelligence to multiple access point (multi-AP) deployments.

Wi-Fi Alliance members are now able to submit their products for testing. Interested in learning more? Read my blog "EasyMesh™ Brings Super Connectivity to Home Networks" and subscribe to our blog.


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Innovation

How UpRamp is on a Mission to Fix the Innovation Economy for the Connectivity Industry

Scott Brown
VP of Technology Outreach & Managing Director of UpRamp

Sep 6, 2018

In this next part of our CableLabs Innovation Ecosystem Series—which we began with “Transforming Ideas into Solutions”—let’s talk about CableLabs' subsidiary UpRamp and how they foster innovation.

In 2016, CableLabs took the steps to connect two of the most powerful networks in the world: the global entrepreneurial community and the powerful connectivity network, run by our 61 global cable operator members. We formed UpRamp because we realized that the relationship between the cable and broadband industry and the startup ecosystem could thrive. Here’s the story of why we formed UpRamp, how we bridge the gap between the startup ecosystem and the connectivity industry to support innovation and entrepreneurship globally.

The Why: The Problem with the Startup Ecosystem and the Connectivity Industry

In the ideal world, there’s a triangular relationship between startups, industry, and venture capital (VC), which looks something like this:

  • An enterprise has an unfulfilled need
  • A startup is born to solve that need
  • As the startup gets some traction, they are funded by VC
  • Startups use that VC $ to accelerate their product into the market
  • Enterprises buy the product
  • Enterprises offer insight/guidance to venture teams on their needs/wants

In this functioning innovation economy, the cycle continues, creating a tight, efficient relationship that simultaneously drives innovation and supports global entrepreneurship.

That’s in the ideal world. But we all know it doesn’t always work that way, and in this triangular relationship, when one piece is broken, the whole cycle falls apart. Historically this triangle has been broken between startups and the cable and broadband industry. This is because of three fundamental problems:

  1. New technology requires extensive, time-consuming testing and modification before it can be deployed - and before any deals can be struck.
  2. Startups need to move quickly. Many operate with just enough money in the bank to last a year, and even with a moderate burn rate, cash is always tight. They rely on their sales pipeline being able to move at a similar pace in order to get the customer traction they need to grow.
  3. The connectivity industry, until now, hasn’t been able to scout for, vet, or engage startups in a useful and efficient way.

This combination is fatal. The connectivity industry has had a sales cycle that can be north of 18 months - and many startups don’t have the cash to make it that long without generating additional revenue. And when the sales cycles are known to be longer than the runway that a single round of funding can provide, very few venture investors will take that deal.

It’s clear why the relationship hasn’t thrived. But it’s also clear that the startup and connectivity communities need each other. Startups can iterate fast and can really drive the cutting-edge innovation that the industry needs. The connectivity industry has a huge market cap, and that cash can be a driving force behind global entrepreneurship. This is where the UpRamp team comes in. Instead of fighting against the traits that kept these two communities from working together, we have leaned into those problems and addressed them to make them work together.

The How: UpRamp is on a Mission to Fix this Relationship

UpRamp has built an ecosystem designed to connect entrepreneurs with the connectivity industry through a variety of programs for every stage of the entrepreneurial life cycle. These include:

  • Innovation Showcase, where early-to-mid-stage startups are invited to give live demos of their technology to a curated, private audience of decision-makers in the cable & broadband industry.
  • The Fiterator program, a three-month, semi-resident accelerator for later-stage startups to help them find product-market fit and ramp up the sales process in our industry.
  • A partnership with Boomtown, the accelerator for early-stage startups based in Boulder. Up to four teams in each cohort are chosen for the UpRamp Connectivity & Hardware track, where they receive coaching from the UpRamp mentor network.
  • The Innovators in Residence program for veteran entrepreneurs who are in-between roles, who work on the innovation projects left on the cutting room floor of CableLabs.

Our core team is made up of entrepreneur veterans who work at the CableLabs offices, putting us exactly at the crux of these two worlds. We have an ear on the ground within the connectivity industry - so we know what problems need to be solved, and we also know what’s happening in the startup ecosystem that could solve those problems.

Most importantly, UpRamp serves as a facilitator between the two communities. Before, sales cycles took (what felt like) an eternity because MSOs had to vet startups themselves, conducting their own due diligence and seeing if the technology could fit into their systems. Using resources from the CableLabs community, UpRamp has designed a rigorous screening process so that the startups that we introduce to the industry are vetted and ready to provide what the industry needs.

UpRamp connectivity Industry

Through this process, we decrease the time that startups spend in the sales cycle and increase the efficiency of corporate innovation and problem solving for the industry. As a result, MSOs and startups can get an agreement on paper in as little as four months - so the innovation cycle moves faster for MSOs, and startups can build a sustainable sales cycle.

The CableLabs Ecosystem and UpRamp

Our goal at UpRamp is to promote a functional innovation economy within the cable and broadband industry, while also supporting global entrepreneurship. By building the relationship between our members and the global startup ecosystem, UpRamp is helping the innovation cycle come to life - bringing VC dollars back into startups and giving our industry influence over how that cash is spent.

We all know the power of the connectivity industry. Right now, venture capital and private equity funds hold $1Tr in uninvested cash - money that could be used to drive cutting-edge innovation among startups that are solving the connectivity industry’s most pressing problems. Until now, the only thing missing has been the connection between radical entrepreneurs and the most powerful network on earth. That’s why UpRamp shows up.


Visit UpRamp for More Information

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