Nine cable operator engineers and operations professionals will go toe to toe during the SCTE IP Challenge next month at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo in Atlanta.

Employees from Buckeye CableSystem, Charter Communications, Comcast, Niagara Community TV Cooperative, Nova Datacom, Suddenlink and Time Warner Cable will vie live for the first prize on Nov. 17. Open to all Expo attendees, the "Jeopardy"-style final will include questions and hands-on activities designed to test finalists' knowledge of Internet Protocol technologies and IPv6. Cisco is sponsoring the IP Challenge.

More than 90 SCTE members, ranging from students to senior executives, participated in the first annual tournament's three online qualifying rounds.

Semifinalists include:

  • Omar Smaidy, systems engineer, Buckeye CableSystem
  • Kevin Bland, network engineer/operations, Charter Communications
  • Nick Williams, headend engineer, Comcast
  • Chris Gotstein, plant manager, Niagara Community TV Cooperative
  • Scott Morris, chief technologist, Nova Datacom
  • Jason Byrd, system support engineer III, Suddenlink
  • Verlo Levels, system support engineer, Suddenlink
  • Steven Callahan, senior network engineer, Time Warner Cable
  • Christopher Fox, maintenance technician, Time Warner Cable.

Alternates include: Roger Florentino (Suddenlink, Regions 1-4); Gregg Miller (Comcast, Regions 5-8 and Canada); and Trevor Hindson (Hill Associates, Regions 9-12)

"The diversity of our IP Challenge semifinalists shows that IP knowledge is strong in every corner of the cable telecommunications industry," said Steve Harris, senior director of advanced network technologies program development for SCTE and creator of the IP Challenge. "We're looking forward to a tournament that will combine the camaraderie and desire to excel that are characteristic of cable's engineering and operations workforce."

Each of the nine semifinalists garnered a full conference pass for Cable-Tec Expo 2011, a Cisco CCNA exam voucher and a framed award certificate. 

Finalists will receive SCTE IP Challenge medals, and the winner will receive a trophy, one full conference pass to Cisco Live and one full conference pass to SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2012. In addition, all participants in the virtual IP Challenge qualifying rounds will be entered in a raffle to win one of 10 CCNA1 courses or a set of Cisco CCNA library books.