The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) announced this morning a new power and energy program that was designed to insure that cable operators remain competitive over the coming years.

 The new program is called “Energy 2020” and it’s under the auspice of the SCTE Energy Management program. Energy 2020 replaces the SCTE’s SEMI (smart energy management initiative) with a much more inclusive energy management program. CED first reported on the replacement of SEMI in March. 

While SEMI had more of a “green” focus, Energy 2020 dramatically expands the SCTE’s energy and powering efforts. Through a collaboration between cable operators and vendors, Energy 2020 was “designed to create alignment on standards and best practices, to drive design and implementation of equipment, and to create SCTE training resources that will enable workforce teams to optimize technology for maximum efficiency,” according to the SCTE press release.

“This is a program to create an environment for knocking down what we see as obstacles to compete in the future around energy and power, which we know is a hot topic,” said SCTE President and CEO Mark Dzuban. “This is all about competiveness in our business so we’re going to pull out all of the stakes and make sure we have a clear road to compete.

“We want to focus on making sure that 2020 is going to be the year when we complete a whole series of objectives that only recently have been spelled out at a high level.”

Goals for Energy 2020 include:

• Reduction of power consumption by 20 percent on a unit basis;

• Energy cost reduction by 25 percent on a unit basis;

• Reduction of grid dependency by 10 percent;

• Optimization of technical facilities and datacenters footprint by 20 percent;

• Establishment of vendor partnerships that will impact hardware development by the end of the decade.

The plan is for vendor and operator members of the SCTE Standards Program to work together with the Energy 2020 team to create standards that will be incorporated into future cable network equipment requirements.  John Schanz, chief network officer and EVP at Comcast, is the chair of the Energy 2020 program, and a central figure in pushing its development.

Cable operators that are actively involved with the new program include Comcast, Cox Communications, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, TDS Telecom/BendBroadband, Rogers Communications, Suddenlink Communications and Buckeye CableSystem.

“This originally started with Time Warner Cable, Comcast and Cox and now it has expanded to an industry solution,” Dzuban said. “This is really an industry project, not just Comcast, but John (Schanz) is in the lead. He wants to make sure that everybody aligns from a vendor perspective and all of our partners to get this done.”

Through the input from a dozen cable operators here and abroad, Energy 2020 has identified 12 primary initiatives across five categories:  facilities, plant, operations, technology, and marketing/regulatory. The SCTE didn’t say what the 12 primary initiatives were.

In order to reach its goals by 2020, SCTE Standards Program members will work directly with operator teams on an eight-step process that will take each initiative from concept through completion.

Dzuban said the next crucial step for Energy 2020 was getting buy in from the vendors. On that note, SCTE and the SCTE Energy Management Program stakeholder operators are slated to provide further details on the program during a special session at SCTE Cable Tec ExpoSept. 22-25 in Denver.

“We need to announce it to get the vendors and partners together,” Dzuban said. “I think John wants to do it in a logical way. He has worked with the MSOs partners on priorities that will work so that we can lay it out to the vendors. If you’re not going to participate as a vendor you’re going to be outside looking in.

“If they want to be able to participate in the solutions they really need to engage with us, partner with us to drive these solutions and work with us to deploy them. That will be the circle of folks that will be really privy to what the vision looks like and how to execute it from a hardware perspective and be ahead of the pack. The vendor participation is a big deal.”

Energy 2020 in action

In addition to rolling up the elements of SEMI into Energy 2020, there are other initiatives that are currently underway that will play a part in the new program. Dzuban cited SCTE’s Adaptive Power Systems Interface Specification (APSIS) as one example.  

APSIS is an end-to-end energy control system across the broadband network. It will manage specific pieces of equipment, such as routers, switchers, and CMTSs, but also develop energy monitoring and control systems. Since APSIS touches everything on the network, the standards will be completed on a rolling basis over the coming years.

One area of focus for APSIS would be to power down equipment, such as a router, set-top box or power plant, when it’s not in use. Depending on the conditions, the equipment could be put into “rest and sleep” mode instead of running at full power during non-peak times.

“The intellectual assets—we’ve got Arris, Intel and Cisco— that are going to be working on this problem are pretty significant,” Dzuban said. “There are certain elements within the hardware that we can throttle back. We can basically turn it down if there’s little or no traffic. There are a lot of ways to do it, but we have to think about how we turn them into standards and how we embody them into the hardware.

“The products of those standards will be embodied in purchase agreements for the purchase of this hardware. We want to make sure the whole industry is aligned and to make sure the embodiment of these technologies and solutions are in the hardware by 2020.”

Dzuban said work on Energy 2020 began about 18 months ago when Schanz took over the energy and power management projects from retired Comcast executive Mark Coblitz.

More information on the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo energy session will be available in the near future. For more information on the SCTE Energy Management Program go here or contact Derek DiGiacomo at