& cplSiteName &

The New Bandwidth Management Tool

Jeff Baumgartner
The Bauminator
Jeff Baumgartner
12/4/2012
50%
50%

2:55 PM -- What has your MHz done for us lately?

That seems to be the question Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) CEO Glenn Britt and Charter Communications Inc. CEO Tom Rutledge were raising Monday at the UBS AG conference in New York, when both execs complained about rising programming costs and said they'd consider dropping poor-performing cable networks.

The cash paid to content makers is "out of whack," Britt complained. "It can't continue that way for another 10 or 20 years."

Charter is "looking at similar kinds of savings," Rutledge said later in the day.

Cable spectrum is a precious resource, so the bean counters are keeping an even closer eye on how many dollars are being spent on a per-MHz basis. If the spectrum occupied by a particular network isn't pulling its weight, then the message seems to be that MSOs will reevaluate their options the next time a programmer's carriage deal comes around for renewal.

Let's face it. Pay-TV is a low-margin service, and broadband isn't.

And operators will be looking for more spectrum to feed the broadband beast. The latest, greatest Docsis 3.0 technology can bond 16 or 24 channels. But from what we've been told, cable operators are already having a hard time scrounging up enough spectrum to bond eight downstream channels. (See Intel's New Docsis 3.0 Chip Guns for 1-Gig .)

Looking ahead, cable operators -- particularly the larger ones -- will be thinking about Docsis 3.1, which will require its own swatch of spectrum. Same goes for EPON Protocol Over Coax (EPoC), a developing Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) standard that might be useful for another high-margin offering: business services. And they're already starting to wonder about how much capacity they'll need to nail up for UltraHD 4K services. There's always something on the horizon that will fill the pipe ... and then some. (See Docsis 3.1 Set for a Spring Fling , EPON-Over-Coax Starts Its Standards Journey and Photos: Comcast/NBCU Ultra-HD Demo .)

Cable spectrum is always tight. Cable likes to point out that they have lots of tools in the proverbial toolbox to free up space: switched digital video, analog reclamation and more efficient compression schemes.

It's not exactly the kind of bandwidth-saving instrument a cable engineer would be proud to wield, but ditching high-cost, low-performing networks might be another tool cable operators will look to in order to free up space for higher-margin services. Britt and Rutledge didn't exactly put it that way, but notice seemingly has been served.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/10/2013 | 4:00:18 AM
re: The New Bandwidth Management Tool


Still, to clear a 6MHz channel, TW Cable or Charter would  need more than a handful of networks to be in the doghouse... anyone got a sense on what the muxes are these days for SD and HD channels? On HD, i thought we were in the neighborhood of 4, and maybe 12 or more on SD. JB

Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/10/2013 | 4:00:14 AM
re: The New Bandwidth Management Tool


Thanks for the insight. Good point that many of these carriage deals do bundle together multiple channels in the programmer's stable, so MSOs can indeed get stuck with a range of popular and not-so-popular networks, a model that 's worked pretty well for the programmers.


So until that breaks down some, I agree that these threats are somewhat empty at least among poor performers that are baked into much bigger deals. Britt and Rutledge did not mention any networks by name. 


Both of those MSOs use switched digital video, so part of the negotiatons might involve determining if more channels can be offered in a switched tier so the operator doesn't have to keep bandwidth nailed up when no one is watching. That helps to conserve bandwidth, but the MSO is still paying the fee, of course... just maybe less?  I'm not sure how the cost models change for networks offered on SDV versus a perpetual digital broadcast, but thought i'd mention since i did not really factor in how SDV could impact future negotiations involving the least popular networks.   JB

Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/10/2013 | 4:00:08 AM
re: The New Bandwidth Management Tool


It's begun, at least at TWC. Ovation says the MSO is going to drop it when the cable channel's current contract expires on Dec. 31.  Ovation's got a petition drive going on its Web site. I can't recall the last time that sort of thing got a cable MSO to change its mind... chopping the carriage fee? Maybe.   JB


 


 

More Blogs from The Bauminator
Don't expect anything more to pop for a while, but one analyst sees John Malone & Co. as the 'logical, ultimate acquirer of Ziggo' if the price is right
Cable operators will need to free up at least 24MHz of spectrum for Docsis 3.1. But why is that the magic number?
Liberty Media's rumored plan to snag a 25% stake in Charter for $2.5B could aid the MSO's M&A strategy
Top US cable operators lost 1.41 million video subs in 2012, but the bleeding continues to show signs of slowing in a saturated pay-TV market
Aereo streams its 'no cable required' tagline into the video world. Will consumers tune in to the message?
From The Founder
Download our complete guide to de-risking NFV deployment in 2016, including:
  • An eight-step strategy to deploying NFV safely, based on input from the companies that have already started virtualizing their production networks.
  • Interviews with leading executives at Colt, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Cisco, Nokia, ZTE, Ericsson and Heavy Reading.
  • Flash Poll
    Live Streaming Video
    Prepping for the Future: Upskill U Explained
    During this short kick-off video, Doug Webster, Vice President of Service Provider Marketing, Cisco, and Light Reading’s CEO & Founder Steve Saunders give an overview of Upskill U.
    LRTV Documentaries
    LRTV Report: Mobile Core Innovation

    4|28|16   |   25:32   |   (0) comments


    Hear from multiple industry experts from Deutsche Telekom, SK Telecom, Heavy Reading, Huawei, Cisco, Ericsson, Nokia, NEC and many more about developments in the mobile core as operators virtualize their IMS and evolved packet core systems and prepare for a 5G world.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    NFV World Congress Highlight

    4|26|16   |     |   (0) comments


    The highlight of the NFV World Congress contains exciting telecom news. Join us for an inside look at Huawei's ICT 2020 plan and its latest collaboration with industry leaders.
    LRTV Interviews
    Unified Comms Finds Its Voice

    4|25|16   |   03:44   |   (0) comments


    Peter Quinlan, VP of UCC Product Management at Tata Communications, talks about the evolution of the unified communications and collaboration services sector and how voice is now a big part of current developments.
    LRTV Documentaries
    So... What Do We Do Now?

    4|25|16   |   03:24   |   (0) comments


    After a long hiatus, Max Dingman, the CEO of a GeeGhiz, returns for a motivational board room pep talk.
    LRTV Documentaries
    NAB 2016 Highlights

    4|21|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Light Reading's Cable/Video Practice Leader Alan Breznick climbs down from the slots to tell us about the latest news in broadcast technology at NAB 2016 in Las Vegas.
    Between the CEOs
    CEO Chat: Deepfield's Craig Labovitz

    4|21|16   |     |   (0) comments


    In this latest installment of the CEO Chat series, Craig Labovitz, co-founder and CEO of Deepfield, sits down with Light Reading's Steve Saunders in Light Reading's New York City office to discuss how Deepfield fits in with the big data trend and more.
    Shades of Ray
    Leading Lights 2016: Shortlists Announced

    4|20|16   |   0:53   |   (0) comments


    The judging is over and the Leading Lights 2016 shortlists have been published -- you can see who made the cut by clicking on this link.
    LRTV Custom TV
    Introducing MulteFire – Qualcomm at MWC 2016

    4|18|16   |   3.29   |   (0) comments


    MulteFire is the latest option for using LTE in unlicensed spectrum. As oppose to its close 'siblings', LAA and LTE-U, MulteFire operates solely in unlicensed spectrum, which enables it to offer the best of two worlds – LTE-like performance with WiFi-like deployment simplicity. In this interview, Sanjeev Athalye, Sr. Director, Product Management at Qualcomm ...
    Between the CEOs
    CEO Chat: Grant Van Rooyen of Cologix

    4|18|16   |     |   (0) comments


    Grant van Rooyen, president and CEO of Cologix, sits down with Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, in the vendor's New Jersey facility to offer an inside look at the company's success story and discuss the importance of security in the telecom industry.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    ONS 2016 – Demonstration of Huawei's NetMatrix Multi-Vendor SDN Orchestrator

    4|15|16   |     |   (0) comments


    This demonstration shows how Huawei's NetMatrix SDN Orchestrator (SDN-O) addresses an operator's core service agility needs for services spanning multi-domain, multivendor networks: it includes a demonstration of:
    - Rapid New Service Design: using YANG to model a complex example of multi-domain, multivendor L3VPN network connectivity service that ...
    LRTV Custom TV
    AT&T Wants to Own North Carolina

    4|15|16   |     |   (1) comment


    Venessa Harrison, president of North Carolina for AT&T, tells how the company will expand its GigaPower service beyond the seven N.C. cities it already serves.

  • This blog, sponsored by AT&T, is the second part of a ten-part series examining next-generation broadband technologies titled "Behind the Speeds."
  • LRTV Interviews
    Will NC Be First Gigabit State?

    4|15|16   |     |   (1) comment


    Alan Fitzpatrick, co-founder of Charlotte Hearts Gigabit, spells out the state's progress in at least starting to wire nearly every major market for gigabit service.
    Upcoming Live Events
    May 23, 2016, Austin, TX
    May 23, 2016, Austin Convention Center
    May 24-25, 2016, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
    September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
    December 6-8, 2016,
    June 16-18, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
    All Upcoming Live Events
    Infographics
    A new survey conducted by Heavy Reading and TM Forum shows that CSPs around the world see the move to digital operations as a necessary part of their overall virtualization strategies.
    Hot Topics
    Ultra-Broadband Summit, Hong Kong
    Iain Morris, News Editor, 4/27/2016
    GoT Fans Curse HBO (Not Right) Now
    Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 4/25/2016
    Mitel Asks: What Time of Day Do You Shower?
    Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 4/25/2016
    Analysts More Than Bullish on Comcast MVNO
    Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 4/22/2016
    Charter Jumps Gun on TWC Restructuring
    Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 4/26/2016
    Like Us on Facebook
    Twitter Feed
    BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
    In this latest installment of the CEO Chat series, Craig Labovitz, co-founder and CEO of Deepfield, sits down with Light Reading's Steve Saunders in Light Reading's New York City office to discuss how Deepfield fits in with the big data trend and more.
    Grant van Rooyen, president and CEO of Cologix, sits down with Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, in the vendor's New Jersey facility to offer an inside look at the company's success story and discuss the importance of security in the telecom industry.
    Animals with Phones
    Live Digital Audio

    Of all the tech companies in the Valley, Intel has made the most aggressive commitment to building a diverse and inclusive workplace culture. It's doing so by taking concrete, measurable steps, making a large financial investment and through a commitment to complete transparency about its progress. In this radio show, WiC Director Sarah Thomas will be joined by Shlomit Weiss, Intel's Vice President, Data Center Group, and General Manager of Networking Engineering, who will share with us why Intel is tackling this huge challenge, how and to what effect. She will also discuss her unique experiences leading development of Client SOC development in the past and today leading development of all of the chipmaker's silicon hardware for networking IPs and discrete devices and managing a team of 600 engineers across Israel, Europe and the US.