CableLabs Honored with a New Technology Emmy
This awards season, CableLabs won a Technology and Engineering Emmy Award for enabling development and deployment of the Hybrid Fiber Coax (HFC) Network Architecture—the suite of technologies responsible for the razor-sharp broadband video, high-speed Internet you enjoy today.
These Emmy awards aren’t easy to snag—although we previously received one in 2010 for DOCSIS 3.0 technology. They’re awarded only once per year to individuals and companies whose technologies have made an extensive and significant impact on the transmission, recording and reception of television. Essentially, the awards recognize technologies that have revolutionized the industry. That’s inarguably true of HFC and, specifically, the AM laser technology that replaced the very long and unreliable amplifiers in cable distribution plants. AM lasers substantially reduced noise and distortion and increased the plants’ bandwidth, paving the way for high-capacity digital services such as HDTV, Video on Demand, high-speed Internet connectivity and more. In just a few decades, cable operators have universally adopted HFC technology, deploying more than 500,000 miles of optical fiber worldwide.
CableLabs’ Contribution: A Little Bit of History
In many ways, what’s known today as HFC technology is a joint effort to improve the reliability of cable technologies devised in the early 1980s. Prior to 1985, cable systems had long cascades of amplifiers, the failure of which affected service to large populations. In search of a solution, Time Warner—and later, Ortel—began experimenting with using fiber deep in the system with much shorter legs of coax and only a few amplifiers in each leg. The results were very promising—much better picture, reduced noise and greater overall system reliability.
After the initial test trials, the challenge was to make this technology economically viable for larger-scale commercial deployments. This is where CableLabs has played a monumental role. In 1988–89, newly formed CableLabs (led by Dick Green) drove the effort to standardize the application of HFC technology and facilitate collaboration between cable operators and industry vendors, resulting in rapid performance improvements and reduced cost. It is this collaboration across cable operators, industry vendors and CableLabs – and other industry partners – that remains the hallmark of CableLabs’ continued success today.
What’s Next for HFC: The Road to 10G
HFC technology has been around for over 30 years and is still going strong, providing the platform for countless gigabit data services, like Ultra HD and more. It’s also the basis for the cable industry’s 10G platform, which aims to provide faster speed, lower latencies, enhanced reliability and better security in a scalable manner. Achieving this goal will open the door to a whole new wave of innovations, such as full-immersion virtual reality (VR) gaming, artificial intelligence (AI) applications and other technologies that will revolutionize the way we live in the near future.
One of the major advantages of HFC architecture is its ubiquity, which allows the cable industry to make quick performance improvements without any major, expensive overhauls to the system. And although we at CableLabs are deeply honored to receive recognition for our contribution, our work on HFC is far from over. We’ll continue working with our members and partners to unleash HFC’s full potential, building on our existing foundation to deliver a fast, reliable and secure network of the future.
The 72st Annual Technology and Engineering Emmy Awards will take place in partnership with the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), at the NAB Show at the Wynn Encore Hotel and Spa on Sunday, April 19th, 2020 in Las Vegas, NV.
Acknowledgment of Significant Individual and Corporate Contributors:
|Time Warner / ATC||Jim Collins, Jim Chiddix, Louis Williamson, Dave Pangrac, Don Gall, John Walsh, Jim Luddington, Jay Vaughn|
|TCI||John Malone (who was also Chairman of CableLabs), J.C. Sparkman, Richard Rexrote|
|Ortel||Hank Blauvelt, Larry Stark|
|ANTEC / AT&T Bell Laboratories||ANTEC – John Egan
AT&T Bell Laboratories – Bob Stanzione, Carl McGrath, Gerry Fenderson
|Jerrold / General Instrument||David Grubb, Steve Frederick, Geoff Roman|
|Scientific Atlanta||Dave Fellows, Lee Thompson, Frank Little, Rezin Pigeon|
Mexican Cable Operator Joins CableLabs
Just a couple months after our new member announcement for Millicom, we’re happy to report that yet another Latin American cable company—Megacable—is joining us. The timing couldn’t be better. As we geared up for our inaugural Latin America & Caribbean Summit in December, we relied on our CALA members to bring cable’s global 10G vision of universal high-speed Internet access and continuous connectivity to the areas they serve. And now that one of Mexico’s largest cable communications companies is onboard (together with Izzi Telecom), we’re looking forward to working with them to make this vision a reality in the near future.
If you live in Mexico, you’re probably familiar with Megacable, a TV, phone and Internet provider operating in 26 states and more than 350 municipalities, including Guadalajara, Puebla, Toluca, León, Veracruz, Hermosillo, Culiacán, Morelia, Querétaro and Torreón. The company’s fiber network, which passes 8.8 million homes, spans more than 61,000 km (that’s more than 38,000 miles) supported by nearly 22,000 employees. As of September 30, 2019, Megacable had grown to approximately 3.2 million pay-TV subscribers, 3.1 million broadband subscribers and 2.1 million telephony subscribers. At the close of Q3 2019, unique subscribers rose to 3.6 million, and revenue-generating units (RGUs) reached 8.4 million, up 7.1 percent compared with Q3 2018. RGUs per unique subscriber reached 2.3, continuing an upward trend.
In addition to its basic triple-play services, Megacable also creates and broadcasts exclusive content related to Mexican culture, tourism, news and entertainment on its own Video Rola channel, available live in certain parts of Mexico and the United States. In August, Megacable broadcast its first original series production on the Panico and Cine Mexicano channels, as well as on Megacable’s “Xview” its interactive video and on-demand platform. The 13-episode series is called “13 Minutos Antes de Dormir” (“13 Minutes Before Sleeping”) and features a number of Mexican horror legends, plus an original score. The company also caters to its business clients with a robust portfolio of services that includes the design and development of tailored information technology and equipment solutions.
Mega-Plans for the Future
Megacable’s future ambitions include improving and expanding its fiber optics footprint, as well as offering a whole new set of mobile services to its customers. Just this May, Megacable acquired another 1,370 km of fiber optics infrastructure through a deal with Axtel, increasing its residential and business subscriber base by 50,000. In November, Megacable began its journey to becoming a quadruple-play provider by venturing into the mobile business as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) under its new service “Mega 4.5G.” As part of its launch promotion in select cities, it has distributed more than 500,000 SIM cards with access to Megacable’s MVNO network absolutely free for 3 months.
This type of entrepreneurial spirit is essential to driving progress and helping people stay more connected to everything and everyone they love. Improving high-speed connectivity, whether wired or wireless, is key to realizing the 10G future where lightning-fast super networks will serve as a springboard for a whole new wave of innovation—not just in Mexico, but all around the world.
Millicom, Cablevideo and Schurz Communications Join the CableLabs Family
Welcoming a new company to the CableLabs family always makes for an exciting day here at the office. Today, we’d like to introduce you to not one but three of our newest members:
- Millicom, one of the leading providers of cable, mobile and high-speed broadband services in Latin America
- Cablevideo, a local Argentinian TV and Internet provider
- Schurz Communications, a privately held company that owns a variety of regional U.S. broadband and cloud service providers
Millicom: A Company on a Mission to Help Growing Economies Reach Their Full Potential
Millicom operates under the TIGO brand in nine Latin American countries—Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Paraguay—building the digital highways that connect people, improve lives and develop communities. Millicom is driving connections that matter through the rapid expansion of its Hybrid Fiber Coax (HFC) and mobile networks with more than 147,000 km of fiber and a reach of 30 million households.
Passing more than 11 million homes today, Millicom’s 3.3 million HFC customers enjoy a variety of digital video services, including advanced personalization and viewing recommendations, together with high-speed broadband.
On the mobile front, Millicom’s 4G/LTE networks serve 37.2 million mobile customers. The company is now focused on converging its cable and mobile services, which would allow Millicom to deliver more compelling data-centric products to its rapidly growing customer base.
Cablevideo: Small Company with a Big Heart
Cablevideo began servicing the Santa Fe area of Argentina in the mid-1980s and has since expanded to Santo Tomé, Coronda, and other neighboring provinces. For the majority of Santafesinos, Cablevideo is synonymous with cable television, offering hundreds of channels, including on-demand and premium channels like HBO, as well as high-quality, reliable broadband Internet to local homes and businesses. Cablevideo also owns and produces content for three local channels that enjoy very high viewership among local residents.
Recently, Cablevideo has started to expand its operations outside Santa Fe and its provinces, laying fiber in areas such as Recreo that have never had cable or Internet. Because it is a local provider, Cablevideo is deeply embedded in local communities. Besides providing a variety of entertainment options, Cablevideo also offers job opportunities to local residents and free services to neighboring schools, nursing homes and hospitals. In June 2018, in preparation for the first winter cold in Argentina, Cablevideo joined forces with a local radio station to gather 5,000 blankets for 1,650 families who live in tin huts—proof that business is not always just about the bottom line.
Schurz Communications: A Family Business That Values Meaningful Connections
Schurz Communications can trace its roots to 1872, when Alfred B. Miller and Elmer Crockett founded a local Indiana newspaper called the South Bend Tribune. Schurz got into the cable business in 1968 in Hagerstown, Maryland, and owns four other locally operated broadband companies in Arizona, Iowa, Minnesota and Vermont that offer video, high-speed Internet and voice services to neighboring communities. Operating HFC, GPON and EPON networks, Schurz is providing advance digital services to more than 200,000 revenue-generating units (RGUs).
In addition to its highly successful broadband operations, Schurz is focused on the technology of information sharing, which safely facilitates human and geographic connections on a global scale. Through Otava, Schurz provides world-class cloud, colocation, data protection, disaster recovery, security and other professional services solutions to thousands of customers around the world. Schurz understands the value of data and is committed to protecting it in the cloud.
CableLabs Membership: Where Local Meets Global
Now that Millicom, Cablevideo, and Schurz have joined our ranks, they have access to our global CableLabs community that strives to achieve alignment and adoption of common technologies. Plus, they can take advantage of many members-only resources, such as:
- Exclusive access to our quarterly R&D reports, competitive assessments of innovation focus areas and more
- An invitation to members-only global events, plus other industry conferences, such as CES, where members share insights and best practices
- A behind-the-curtain look at the latest innovative research not yet available to the general public
- An opportunity to participate in working groups that drive industry standards in fiber, security, mobile, virtual networking and other innovative fields
- Access to state-of-the-art development and testing facilities for next-generation technologies
If you’re interested in becoming a CableLabs member and would like more information, please contact us by clicking the link below.
CableLabs Names Mariam Sorond as Chief Research & Development Officer
Today, CableLabs appointed Mariam Sorond as the organization’s Chief Research & Development Officer and Senior Vice President, reporting to President and CEO Phil McKinney. In this role, Sorond will lead Research & Development (R&D) directing the execution and adoption of new technologies for CableLabs’ members and the industry, partnering closely with McKinney on the technical thought leadership, vision and strategy for the future of connectivity.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Mariam to CableLabs, bringing her depth of experience and expertise to our members and the industry,” said McKinney. "As we advance toward a digital future encompassing even greater wireless capabilities, it is crucial for both CableLabs and the broadband industry at large to be led by innovative executives with extensive knowledge in wireless technologies and technology policy.”
As the cable and broadband industry surges ahead into a new era of ubiquitous connectivity, it is critical for CableLabs to continue building technologies that enable one cohesive and seamless ecosystem. With mobile network operators making up approximately half of CableLabs’ members, including some of the largest wireless operators in the world, Sorond’s expertise across wireless technologies for mobile, fixed and satellite networks—across both domestic and international standards—will carry CableLabs into the future.
“I am excited to be joining the innovative and talented team at CableLabs,” said Sorond. “CableLabs invents the future through technologies that connect our society with better communication and quality, offering a unique environment for the insatiably curious. I look forward to working with this transformational and passionate team to deliver solutions that break barriers and are implemented around the globe.”
Sorond comes to CableLabs from DISH Network, bringing more than 24 years of technical and strategy experience in the telecommunications industry. At DISH, she served as the Chief Wireless Architect and Vice President of Technology Development. Sorond led the R&D effort for an innovative 5G network and created the next-generation network architecture, as well as spectrum technology, standards development and the negotiation of technical agreements across government agencies and industry partnerships.
Prior to joining DISH, Sorond worked for several operators, including Nextel, ICO and PrimeCo, and vendors such as Lucent Technologies (now Nokia). She has served as a member of the NTIA's Commerce Spectrum Management Advisory Committee (CSMAC) since 2014.
Sorond will officially begin working at CableLabs later this month.
Ralph Brown will be retiring from his role as Chief Technology Officer after more than 17 years with CableLabs. New to the role of Chief Technology Officer, Belal Hamzeh’s focus is on CableLabs’ long-term vision three to eight years out.
Say “Hoi” to VodafoneZiggo, Our Newest CableLabs Member
We are very happy to announce that VodafoneZiggo just became the 62nd member of our global CableLabs family. VodafoneZiggo is a Dutch joint venture formed from the union of two very well-known brands:
- Ziggo, the #1 cable network and entertainment provider in the Netherlands owned by Liberty Global, the largest international TV and broadband internet company; and
- Vodafone Netherlands, the #2 mobile operator in the Netherlands owned by Vodafone Group, one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies.
VodafoneZiggo provides 9.7 million fixed line services to its customers with nearly 4 million video, over 3 million broadband and 2.5 million telephone services, and provides mobile services to nearly 5 million customers. The joint venture now provides converged video, broadband and mobile services to over 1 million households just 18 months after launching its quad-play offering.
Why VodafoneZiggo Is a Perfect Fit for the CableLabs Family
VodafoneZiggo’s focus is an echo of our own future vision for the global cable industry – connected networks. By joining forces, VodafoneZiggo’s parent companies embarked on a path toward a seamless and reliable connectivity between networks, devices, and most importantly, people. Beginning in 2020, VodafoneZiggo will begin providing a 'network of the future' with converged mobile and fixed connections.
Liberty Global announced its next-generation TV entertainment platform, ‘Horizon 4’, in 2018 featuring a superfast set-top box with 4K Ultra HD picture quality and a remote control with voice capabilities. VodafoneZiggo is currently testing 'Horizon 4' and is working towards a commercial launch in the first half of 2019. DOCSIS 3.1 technology, the CableLabs innovation enabling multiple gigabit per second broadband speed, has been successfully piloted in the Utrecht region of the Netherlands enabling VodafoneZiggo to proceed with a nationwide 1 Gigabit network rollout by 2020.
As a next step in the realization of its network of the future, VodafoneZiggo has increased the bandwidth of a part of its mobile network and, as a result, download speeds of more than 1 Gbps are now possible. Mobile devices supporting these download speeds are expected to be broadly available in 2019. The joint venture is also carrying out 5G tests, working on innovative IoT solutions to make cities safer and more sustainable.
Benefits of CableLabs Membership
We believe that CableLabs’ international reach will help companies like VodafoneZiggo and many others achieve the technological alignment and global scale needed to ramp up the pace of innovation and drive down costs. A CableLabs membership gives them a direct link to the rest of the industry through which they can share experiences and collaborate to better serve their customers.
Other membership benefits include:
- Exclusive access to our quarterly R&D reports, competitive assessments of innovation focus areas and more.
- An invite to our annual Summer Conference and other member-only global events, plus other industry conferences, such as CES.
- A behind-the-curtain look at the latest innovative research not yet available to the general public.
- An opportunity to participate in Working Groups that drive industry standards in fiber, security, mobile, virtual networking and other innovative fields.
If you’d like to learn more about CableLabs member benefits and how to apply, please click the link below.
CableLabs Welcomes Two New Members: 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.
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.
CableLabs Extends its Global Reach with the Addition of Four New Member Companies
In its continued commitment to the international cable community, CableLabs welcomes four new companies to its membership: GCable and Henan Cable (both situated in China), together with Nowo (Portugal) and Stofa (Denmark).
Guangdong Cable Network (aka Gcable)
Gcable serves Guangdong Province located in southeast China. Guangdong Province is one of the most highly industrialized provinces in China, with major technology centers in Guangzhou (served by Gcable) and Shenzhen (served by Topway, a CableLabs member). Gcable, which is the largest MSO in Guangdong Province, serves 13 million television subscribers and 1.7 million broadband subscribers.
Henan Cable serves Henan Province. The company is 49% owned by CITIC Limited, China’s largest conglomerate with diverse global businesses focused on financial services, resources and energy, manufacturing, engineering contracting, real estate and telecommunications. CITIC Limited also has similar ownership interests in two other CableLabs members – Chongqing Cable Networks (originally located in Sichuan Province) and JSCN (located in Jiangsu Province). Henan Cable serves 11 million television subscribers and 400 thousand broadband subscribers.
Nowo provides cable service in Portugal to 172 thousand television subscribers and 144 thousand broadband subscribers. Nowo is the second largest cable operator in Portugal. Nowo launched in September 2016. with a strategy focused on a disruptive “build your own bundle” which includes mobile voice and data together with fixed line video, broadband and voice services.
Stofa is a Danish cable company affiliated with SE Group, a customer-owned, energy and telecommunications group. Stofa, began in 1959 serving antenna, housing and land associations across Denmark, and now provides fixed and mobile services to 344 thousand television subscribers, 323 thousand broadband subscribers, 84 thousand digital voice subscribers and 10 thousand mobile subscribers. Stofa is the second largest cable operator in Denmark.
These four members join 55 other cable operators from 5 continents bringing CableLabs’ total membership to 59 – representing over 180 million video subscribers worldwide.
In its global reach, CableLabs is focused 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.
We look forward to bringing on more members in the future to foster innovation worldwide. You can find more information about CableLabs’ global strategy here. Please contact us to discover the value of membership in CableLabs.
Arianne Hinds Honored as the 2017 WICT Rocky Mountain Woman In Technology
Last week, our very own Dr. Arianne Hinds received the prestigious 2017 WICT Rocky Mountain Woman in Technology Award. WICT is a national organization for Women in Cable Telecommunications, and the Rocky Mountain chapter is one of the largest and most influential of all the chapters. CableLabs has been a strong supporter of WICT for many years and is thrilled for Arianne to receive this recognition.
Dr. Arianne Hinds has over 25 years in the industry in the areas of image and video compression, including MPEG and JPEG. She currently serves as the head of the United States delegation to MPEG, as the Chairperson of the L3.1 Committee for United States MPEG Development Activity for the InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards.
She is the lead inventor on several image and video compression patents, including four patents that are essential to a MPEG video standard (ISO/IEC 23002-2), for her work on fixed-point implementations of the Discrete Cosine Transform and Inverse Discrete Cosine Transform (DCT/IDCT); the same DCT/IDCT topic also served as the basis for her Ph.D. thesis. She has 17 patents issued so far and several more pending.
In her current role in the Office of the CTO, she is responsible for developing the strategy for CableLabs’ participation in 32 standards development organizations, industry consortia, and other technical fora. The resulting strategy is then shared with CableLabs members to facilitate alignment on key strategic goals: drive scale of technologies important to cable, create interoperable solutions that drive vendor diversity, improve the ability for our cable members to compete, and assess new technologies relevant to the cable business.
Arianne’s background as a video compression subject matter expert and her ability to drive consensus in challenging situations has profoundly increased the impact that the cable industry has on many video-related specifications, including MPEG and SCTE standards. As an example, she has been successful in driving cable-friendly requirements into adaptive bitrate specifications such as MPEG DASH and HEVC.
Arianne is also passionate about getting more women into computer science and engineering fields. She serves on the CU Boulder Computer Science Department Advisory Board and works to inspire more women to major in Computer Science (they are currently at an abysmal 15% female enrollment in the CU Computer Science Department!)
The WICT Rocky Mountain Woman In Technology Award recognizes a woman who has made significant contributions to her organization’s success and the industry through her impressive technical knowledge and accomplishments, or expertise in bringing new products or business to fruition. Honorees must be leaders in their fields and exemplify the WICT Touchstones of Leadership (always a good reminder of important traits for anyone in the industry):
WICT Touchstones of Leadership:
Touchstone 1: Know Yourself; what you stand for and where you are headed
Touchstone 2: Communicate with passion and poise
Touchstone 3: Listen with more than just your ears
Touchstone 4: Connect to your peers, your industry and everything around you
Touchstone 5: Be a Catalyst and set the wheels of change in motion
Touchstone 6: Be Fearless and confident in your convictions
Touchstone 7: Inspire and others will follow
The WICT touchstones of leadership are great guidelines for everyone to follow. Click here to read about these touchstones in detail.
Arianne received her award along with a number of other deserving industry colleagues at the WICT Rocky Mountain Walk of Fame gala, where over 680 industry professionals gathered to honor these inspiring women. CableLabs congratulates Arianne and all the 2017 WICT Rocky Mountain Walk of Fame honorees!
CableLabs Goes Down Under
In a bit of alright, CableLabs recently welcomed Australia’s National Broadband Network (nbn) – as our 56th member — and our first in Australia. CableLabs now has members across five continents — adding Australia to Asia, Europe, North America and South America.
Established by the Australian government in 2009 to design, build and operate Australia's new broadband network, nbn is unique among CableLabs members as a Layer 2 network which wholesales access to Retail Service Providers (RSPs). With the nbn network currently passing 4.6 million premises, approximately 50 RSPs are providing service to 2 million end user customers. nbn plans to extend its network to 12 million premises by 2020 – and will serve 8 million end user customers through its RSPs.
nbn is unique in another fundamental way. It is comprised of several heterogeneous network technologies, including fixed networks employing HFC, DSL and fiber (FTTx), together with wireless networks (fixed and satellite). Through a strategy titled “Multi Technology Mix,” nbn is a “network of networks” which integrates and optimizes these technologies to maximize speed of rollout, optimize economic return and enhance flexibility. This flexibility is at the heart of nbn’s strategy to provide access to fast broadband to all Australians as soon as possible.
By the end of 2018, nbn will deploy DOCSIS 3.1 in its HFC network, joining a growing number of CableLabs’ members across Canada, Europe and the U.S. who are deploying DOCSIS 3.1 multi-gigabit technology. These deployments will help deliver new customer experiences that are faster and more efficient. Examples of the improved experience include:
- 10Gbps downstream and up to 1Gbps upstream network capacity
- Improved responsiveness for applications such as online gaming and video streaming
- Ability to transmit up to 50 percent more data over the same spectrum, on existing HFC networks
- Increased cable modem energy efficiency through advanced energy management protocols
For more information about nbn, please visit http://www.nbnco.com.au/corporate-information/about-nbn-co.html.
Insights from the 50th Consumer Electronics Show #CES2017
This year’s CES was another record breaking event and was well attended by cable industry representatives. The event staff reports over 177,000 people attended to view nearly 2.5 million square feet of exhibit space. Over the next several weeks, analysts and pundits will contemplate the trends and shifts that are ongoing in the industry. In the meantime, here are some thoughts on a few key areas.
Everything is being connected in dozens of ways. Connected everything is going to drive huge bandwidth consumption while also presenting interesting challenges. Wireless connectivity options abound, from traditional WiFi and Bluetooth to a plethora of ecosystem scale consortia options such as ZigBee, ZWave, Thread, and ULE Alliance. Cellular based connectivity is expanding with companies using lightweight modems to easily connect new products such as health device hubs and pet monitors to cloud services. With so many options, however, providing a consistent and securable home and business environment will remain challenging — no one hub will seamlessly connect all the devices and services that are out there, and no one security appliance will keep consumer networks safe.
There is a huge focus on health and wellness, with several hundred companies exhibiting in the Health & Wellness and Fitness & Technology Marketplaces. These focus areas were well exhibited by the large manufacturers such as Samsung, Sony, Intel, and Qualcomm as well. In discussions with product managers, however, it’s clear that we might not have learned too many lessons about the need to secure medical and fitness devices and services. Many vendors continue to integrate minimal security, relying on unsecured Bluetooth connectivity to a hub that often does not leverage any form of strong identity for authentication. Fortunately, the Open Connectivity Foundation will continue to provide a path for addressing this shortfall, and membership in the Foundation significantly increased this week. Moreover, several vendors are leveraging IoTivity which will provide clean paths to secure implementations for connected environments.
Smart, highly connected homes were also a major theme, again with hundreds of vendors showing completely integrated solutions, hubs, and thousands of end devices. Connected lightbulbs remained a continuous and omnipresent idea, as were security systems. However, it’s clear there is not any winning market strategy here yet. With dozens of vendors offering complete solutions and even more offering different controllers, it seems the market is fragmented! On the other hand, Brian Markwalter of CTA advises they expect to see 63% CAGR for the smart home market in 2017. It seems this is a great opportunity for service providers to pave the way to some convergence and integration simplification for home owners.
It’s hard to go to CES and not leave very optimistic about the future. There is so much good stuff coming that is going to impact all of us. From better screens to more agile and secure health care devices to safer cars to anything else you can imagine. And, there are so many ways to add value to mundane items just by connecting them to a network. Given Metcalfe’s law (“the value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system”), the value of the cable network appears to be headed for much higher with the growth of so many connected devices. And, it’s clear that we’re going to need all the bandwidth to the home that DOCSIS can bring! Our challenge is ensuring easy and flexible use through good strategies and standards for interoperability and security.