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New Cable JV Targets DAA Market

Alan Breznick

With cable operator interest in next-gen access network solutions growing, a major European cable vendor is teaming up with a smaller US vendor to make a play for the huge North American market.

Teleste Corp. -- a large Finnish manufacturer that specializes in such network and in-home equipment as optical nodes, amplifiers, repeaters and passives as well as related software and monitoring products -- is partnering with Antronix Inc. to pursue the burgeoning Distributed Access Architecture (DAA) market in the US and Canada. Teleste and Antronix -- a much smaller, New Jersey-based, privately held firm that makes taps, splitters, amplifiers, filters and passives -- have established a joint venture to pitch optical nodes, headend optics and Remote PHY devices to cablecos. (See Teleste & Antronix Enter JV for North American Broadband Market.)

The two companies said the joint venture, known as Teleste Intercept, will start out by introducing Teleste's line of DOCSIS 3.1 optical nodes, headend optics and Remote PHY products to the US and Canada. The JV will compete against such well established North American cable vendors as Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Casa Systems Inc. and Harmonic Inc. (Nasdaq: HLIT) for MSO orders. Despite bearing the Teleste brand name, the new JV will operate out of Antronix's Cranbury, N.J. headquarters.

Although not exactly the sexiest part of the cable equipment space, such nuts-and-bolts networking and in-home devices as nodes, splitters, amplifiers, taps and the rest are a solid business for both small and large vendors. With cable operators needing to switch out most, if not all, of these devices as they upgrade their networks for next-gen DOCSIS 3.1, DAA and Fiber Deep deployments, that business promises to spike over the next few years.

In an interview with Light Reading, Antronix President Neil Tang estimated that such gear now amounts to a $200 million market in North America. He hopes that the JV can capture a significant chunk of that market as cable operators begin Remote PHY deployments later this year and early next year. The move comes as the market for DAA solutions, particularly Remote PHY solutions, is clearly heating up, as seen at the ANGACOM show in Germany last month. (See Remote PHY Takes Early DAA Lead and The Cable DAA Vendor Race Begins.)

"Remote PHY is just starting to come into the market," said Tang, who has been talking to Teleste executives about some sort of partnership since last fall. "The timing is good… Most cable operators have Remote PHY in their plans."

By concentrating on Remote PHY, D3.1, Fiber Deep and other next-gen access network gear, Tang said the JV will feature different products than the ones now offered by Antronix, which already counts five of the biggest North American MSOs – namely, Comcast, Charter, Altice USA, Cox and Rogers -- as major customers. "There's no overlap [in products]," he said. "It makes a lot of sense."

Want to know more about cable market trends? Check out our dedicated cable channel here on Light Reading.

While Antronix is better known in the North American market and actually developed the first Intercept product line (an Ethernet over HFC or eHFC solution), the JV is leveraging the Teleste name both to introduce Telese to the market and avoid the perception that there are two different Antronix firms. "We did not want to confuse our customer base," Tang said. "We didn't want to confuse the market."

Teleste has hooked up with a North American cable vendor before. Three years ago, shortly after it started shipping its first DOCSIS 3.1 nodes, the Finnish vendor teamed up with Casa in a joint development effort to package Casa's C100G CCAP headend chassis with Teleste's Remote PHY optical node. But that partnership has focused on Europe, not North America. (See Distributed CCAP Debuts in Europe and Teleste Ships DOCSIS 3.1 Nodes.)

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

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