News

A Warm Welcome to SCTE•ISBE—Now Joined With CableLabs!

Phil McKinney
President & CEO

Dec 10, 2020

Today, SCTE•ISBE members voted to make Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) and its global arm, the International Society of Broadband Experts (ISBE), a subsidiary of CableLabs. The agreement is the result of a unanimous vote of the CableLabs and SCTE board of directors and a vote of overwhelming support for the proposal by SCTE members. This combination will increase the alignment of investment, resources and innovations between the two organizations. CableLabs members can expect expanded benefits as part of the transaction, which goes into effect January 1, 2021.

This strategic decision allows SCTE•ISBE and CableLabs to increase industry collaboration and accelerate our progress toward 10G by streamlining the cable technology innovation cycle—from the very early research and ideation stage all the way to mass market deployment.

SCTE•ISBE has served as a cable thought leader for over 50 years, bringing the industry together through various initiatives such as its incredibly successful annual SCTE•ISBE Cable-Tec Expo®, core learning and development programs for cable technologists and other membership activities. SCTE’s goals of facilitating productive industry partnerships, technological progress and innovation are already very closely aligned with ours. By formally combining our efforts and expertise, we aim to further accelerate our innovation and deployment efforts—a mutually-beneficial move for all our respective members and the global cable industry as a whole.

The decision to join forces is not only smart, it is also very timely. The current pace of innovation requires us to move quicker than ever before. After all, we are building the communication platform that will become a cornerstone of future technological progress. By syncing and closely managing our innovation, specifications, standards, training and deployment efforts between our two companies, the industry can drive faster and more cost-effective infrastructure upgrades. These efficiencies will allow for smoother workflows and more collaboration opportunities among our members and the cable community.

Together we can more efficiently test, build and deploy technologies that will meet and exceed the needs of cable broadband customers around the world, as well as allow our members and vendors to maximize their investments and resources. We are here to support our cable community on all fronts—from education and training to technical expertise and industry standardization efforts, plus, much more. This is why we are very much looking forward to welcoming SCTE•ISBE to our CableLabs family in 2021!

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DOCSIS

CableLabs Specifications Move From De Facto to De Jure

Curtis Knittle
Vice President, Wired Technologies Research and Development

Oct 6, 2020

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines de facto and de jure as follows:

de facto | di-ˈfak-(ˌ)tō – actual, exercising power as if legally constituted

de jure | (ˌ)dē-ˈju̇r-ē – by right, based on laws or actions of the state

In law and government, de facto describes practices that exist in reality, even though they are not officially recognized by laws, whereas de jure describes practices that are legally recognized, regardless of whether the practice exists in reality.

De facto is commonly used to refer to what happens in practice, in contrast with de jure, which refers to things that happen according to law.

The CableLabs® DOCSIS® series of specifications have been de facto standards for the cable industry for over 20 years. In parallel, CableLabs has contributed its specifications to de jure telecommunications industry standards bodies, specifically the International Telecommunications Union (ITU-T), the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), and the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers/International Society Broadband Experts (SCTE/ISBE).

In the past, creating a de jure standard was a lengthy process involving the reformatting of the specifications into the standards body’s document template, proofreading the reformatting for any errors, submitting the reformatted content as a contribution, and taking it through the standards body’s standardization process. These steps could take many months or even years. Because CableLabs’ specifications are living documents under strict document control (and may have a certification program linked to revisions under this document control), the official de jure standards body’s copy can quickly become out of date. To keep the copy up to date, the process of reformatting, proofreading, submitting, and going through the standards process, has to be repeated with every revision. This reality has led to the unfortunate result that the official de jure standards have been consistently out-of-date.

However, with the SCTE/ISBE publication of the DOCSIS 4.0 standard, now all three of the relevant de jure telecommunications industry standards bodies simply normatively reference the CableLabs specifications, either directly as is the case with SCTE/ISBE and ITU-T, or indirectly as is the case with ETSI. This simplifies the revision process to one of updating a few normative references and approving them. The process of updating these de jure standards has therefore become a much more streamlined activity and the official de jure standards can remain in sync with the CableLabs specifications.

One might ask, “Why does this matter?” Quite simply, it is a matter of law versus fact, as the definitions of de facto and de jure make clear. Regional governments (“the law”) globally prefer to recognize standards that result from the due process of a de jure standards body rather than a potentially proprietary solution coming from a single manufacturer or industry consortia. The standards process will vet these solutions and typically come with an Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) policy by which all participants must abide. Now that all of the relevant de jure standards bodies have adopted this practice cable operators around the world can confidently purchase products compliant with the CableLabs specifications, knowing that they are also fully compliant with any of the official standards from the aforementioned standards bodies.

In effect, ITU-T, ETSI, and SCTE/ISBE have all recognized that the CableLabs DOCSIS specifications are not only the de facto global standard, but also the de jure global standard. There is no longer is any gap between the facts and the law.

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