Light Reading
2:55 PM Can we put the dropping of underperforming cable networks next to switched digital video, analog reclamation and advanced compression?

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
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


 


 

Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
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?
Flash Poll
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Inaugural Optical Innovation Forum in Nice

9|2|14   |     |   (0) comments


More than 170 attendees from network operators, service providers, analyst firms, and component companies from around the world convened in Nice in June for the inaugural Optical Innovation Forum, co-produced by Huawei and Light Reading.
Wagner’s Ring
Data Centers Drive Telcos Into the Future

8|28|14   |   2:20   |   (2) comments


Data centers are at the heart of key trends driving telecom -- network virtualization, the drive for increased agility, and the need to compete with OTT providers.
LRTV Custom TV
Why SPs Should Consider Cisco's EPN

8|27|14   |   5:40   |   (0) comments


Sultan Dawood from Cisco discusses Cisco's EPN, which enables SPs to build agile and programmable networks delivering new network virtualized services using Cisco's Evolved Services Platform (ESP).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Showcase @ Big Telecom Event 2014

8|26|14   |   2.56   |   (0) comments


SoftCOM is Huawei's framework for telecom business and network transformation. Haofei Liu, Solution Marketing Manager, Carrier Business Group, Huawei, showcases Huawei's SoftCOM architecture in this video.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei @ BTE 2014: Director of Integrated Solutions on SoftCOM & NFV Monetization

8|26|14   |   4.43   |   (0) comments


Libin Dai, Director of Integrated Solutions, Carrier Business Group, discusses Huawei's SoftCOM and NFV monetization. Huawei believes that NFV monetization should be service-driven rather than network-driven, and that operators should have network transformation, service transformation and a compatible and collaborative ecosystem in place in order to deploy NFV.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei @ BTE 2014: Director of US NFV Lab on CloudEdge & the Future of NFV

8|26|14   |   4.06   |   (0) comments


Sean Chen, Director of US NFV Lab at Huawei, discusses Huawei's new approach to NFV in open collaboration. Huawei believes that through Proof of Concept tests, it could help operators learn and communicate with the industry more effectively. Sean believes that successful implementation of NFV should have its values reaching to end users and discusses how Huawei's ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Highlights @ Big Telecom Event 2014

8|26|14   |   3.34   |   (0) comments


At the Big Telecom Event in Chicago Huawei showcases its high-level strategy, the SoftCOM architecture, which helps operators reduce the cost of ownership of their network infrastructure and generate additional revenue in the ICT service environment. Huawei showcases over 30 pilot programs from across the globe, focusing on the industry-leading commercial ...
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX – Live from the Show

8|21|14   |   5:58   |   (0) comments


An overview of VeEX Test and Measurement solutions including TX300S multi-service test set with VeExpress cloud-based management system, UX400 universal modular platform supporting 100G testing, and the redesigned RXT modular platform.
LRTV Custom TV
Transitioning CE 2.0 Networks Into the SDN & NFV Era With Telco Systems

8|19|14   |   5:19   |   (0) comments


Telco Systems' Ariel Efrati (CEO) and Moshe Shimon (VP of Product Management) discuss virtualization and how the company's new Open Metro Edge solution utilizes the SDN and NFV concepts to accelerate and orchestrate service delivery through its innovative product portfolio and software applications.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Myths: Is NFV Still Several Years Away?

8|11|14   |   1:13   |   (0) comments


Some say that NFV (network functions virtualization) is still several years away from being implemented on mobile operator networks. This isn't the case. Operators can get started on their paths to NFV now, as this short video from Skyfire shows.
LRTV Custom TV
A New Security Paradigm in SDN/NFV

7|28|14   |   02:54   |   (0) comments


Paul Shaneck, Global Director Network Solutions for Symantec, discusses the evolving virtualized network, explaining how Symantec is leading the security discussion as it relates to SDN and NFV, and helping to ensure the network is protected and compliant.
LRTV Documentaries
Sprint's Network Evolution

7|24|14   |   14:59   |   (0) comments


Sprint's Jay Bluhm gives a keynote speech at the Big Telecom Event (BTE) about Sprint's network and services evolution strategy, including Spark.
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 23, 2014, Denver, CO
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
A survey conducted by Vasona Networks suggests that 72% of mobile users expect good performance all the time, and they'll blame the network operator when it's not up to par.
Today's Cartoon
Hot Topics
Rogers, Shaw Take Aim at Netflix
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 8/26/2014
Utilities to Pump $11.2B Into Smart Grid – Study
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 8/26/2014
Verizon Launches QR Code Security Solution
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/26/2014
Nokia's Maps Land on Samsung Devices
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 8/29/2014
Verizon to Launch HD VoLTE in 'Coming Weeks'
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 8/26/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed