Denver was the seat of the industry for decades
By now you’ve been sufficiently plied with e-mails, flyers and collateral from the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers, urging you to get yourself out to Colorado for this year’s Cable-Tec Expo.
In my view, here on the Open Mic, it’s a perfect place to celebrate the 40th birthday of the SCTE: Both the venue and the association are historic leaders for our industry.
Denver, after all, was the seat of the cable industry for decades, prior to the consolidation that shifted so many of us to the East Coast. At one point, in the early '90s, more than 15 cable companies were headquartered in the Mile-High City!
And so much rich technological legacy continues to live and thrive in Colorado. There’s CableLabs, of course, and The Cable Center, as well as our own Comcast Media Center. Time Warner Cable runs a sizeable engineering and technology center northwest of Denver. We operate a call center and our Western Division headquarters in the area.
Starz! is Denver-based, as is Altitude Sports and Entertainment, Ascent and the Liberty properties – so the content community is a high-profile Denver mainstay.
And a vigorous supplier community calls Colorado home, too. So it’s good to be celebrating 40 years of cable engineering in such a cable landmark location. I personally am really glad about it.
ENGINEERS ANCHOR THE WEEK
This year is a little different, as you probably know, because of the move to consolidate our major industry gatherings into two weeks of the year. We engineers pull into town just as the marketers (CTAM) are leaving, and we hit it hard on the morning of Oct. 28.
It’s our annual engineering conference this year that I’m perhaps most excited about. Why: The ever-popular and informative Technology Leadership Roundtable – featuring Marwan Fawaz of Charter; Paul Liao, incoming CEO of CableLabs; Pragash Pillai of Bresnan; and Dermot O’Carroll of Rogers – will again be moderated by industry analyst Leslie Ellis. From what I hear, it’s about taking the gloves off against a phenomenon Ellis calls “FiOS in the face.” The session itself is titled “Enough Already!” Don’t miss it.
Next is another area I’m really looking forward to, a discussion of our local, regional and national fiber networks, under this heading: “The extensible competitive fiber network.” This is something that I, for one, really believe in, and I am glad to be able to wave the flag.
Allow me to unpack the verbiage. It’s surely no secret to CED’s readership that cable is the industry that invented how to put video over fiber in the late 1980s. We installed it, figure eight by figure eight, all through the '90s. We then connected regions and have now tied into national backbones.
Our fiber platform is big. It’s in place. It uses more access fiber than any other industry segment – anywhere.
By definition, “extensible” means capable of being enlarged in scope or meaning. To me, it’s a way of looking at our networks as physically there for us to expand upon logically. The pipes are the pipes, which we built with quality craftsmanship over the past two decades. Which pretty much explains the “competitive” part.
The next chapter in cable engineering is about finding the ways to extend our existing fiber networks to provide even more experiences for our consumers and businesses. We need you now more than ever, cable engineers!
Here’s one way to look at it: If you were to count a digital phone call as an experience, as well as a Web-surfing session or any interaction with a video stream – on the TV or PC – guess how many experiences, per day, a company like Comcast delivers? The person who reads to this point and makes a guess in Denver gets a special prize.
And let’s not forget the technical workshops, always an important (and crowded) mainstay of the Cable-Tec Expo. Here’s a sampling of what’s on tap this year: getting EBIF onto legacy set-tops, IPv4 to IPv6 migration planning, and enabling “4As” – any content, any device, any place and any time.
Workshops are grouped into the following categories this year: business services, cable services and fulfillment, engineering, network operations and technical operations. As always, each workshop runs at least twice – just in case you, too, haven’t yet found a human clone for concurrent convention sessions.
So you’re there, right? Good. See you there – and I’ll be the tall guy holding the cable flag high!
Next month, Paul Woidke, OpenTV's senior vice president and general
manager of advanced advertising, will discuss competition
in the new advertising environment.
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