Light Reading
What were the hot topics at the London Cable Congress Show? M&A, TiVo, customer experience and wireless were in the mix

What's Cookin' at Cable Congress

Ray Le Maistre
3/6/2013
50%
50%

LONDON – Cable Congress 2013 -- Hundreds of executives from Europe's cable sector (and beyond) have converged on the Lancaster Hotel in the U.K.'s capital to discuss the sector's future, but there's one topic dominating conversation at the show.

  • It's hard to get away from chat about Liberty Global Inc.'s planned purchase of Virgin Media Inc. and the impact that it will have on the U.K., European and cable markets. So there was a full house for the keynote address from Virgin Media's outgoing (in both senses) CEO Neil Berkett. (See Liberty Makes $23.3B Play for Virgin Media.) He took the opportunity to appraise the sector and look back at his company's evolution from a fragmented operator with massive losses to a focused company that's generating profits. His main points for the sector were that cable operators can succeed by offering simple-to-understand packages of services to consumers and businesses and by delivering against marketing messages. "We pride ourselves on being straightforward … we deliver what we offer," he noted, making particular reference to broadband speeds. Of course, he didn't miss the chance to warn regulators and governments against pursuing interventionist and clumsy regulatory and policy strategies, "even if they have the best intentions." And he cited the introduction of TiVo Inc.-powered set-top boxes as an example of product/service innovation that was "leaving rivals behind." The TiVo question is one of the main topics of conversation here: Virgin Media has installed the box in 1.3 million U.K. homes, but will Liberty Global ultimately seek to introduce its Horizon gateway into U.K. homes should the acquisition be successful? The prevailing view is that Horizon is on the horizon for Virgin Media customers… (See Liberty Global, Virgin on Divergent Video Paths.)
  • Berkett was just one of a number of cable operator executives who cited a desire to engage in more depth with customers. What's missing, though, is any detail of how the operators plan to go about this, beyond the introduction of enhanced network and home networking technology and some user surveys. He clearly sees the need for a new focus for the industry. "[Cable operators] need to move beyond pure product innovation and make the customer experience as easy as possible," he stated during his keynote. (See Beyond Cable's Tech Obsession.) In another conference session, Rosalia Portela, the CEO of Spanish operator ONO, noted the need to "get closer to the customers," while Liberty Global board member Miranda Curtis stated that following the "massive investment in the networks, now there needs to be greater attention on customer service and customer interfaces … we need to discover how our customers are using" technology and services.
  • Wireless, and how it fits into the mix, is a topic that's taxing a lot of cable minds in Europe. Mike Fries, president and CEO at Liberty Global, told attendees that "everyone in this market needs a mobile strategy … Having a quad play option is now an important piece of the puzzle." It's not just about mobile. Wi-Fi is increasingly important to Europe's cable players, as the likes of Virgin Media and Ziggo B.V. have shown. (See Virgin Lands City Wi-Fi Deals and Ziggo Tries AlcaLu's lightRadio Wi-Fi.) Now Liberty Global is about to make a major Wi-Fi push, with its plans to enable its customers to hook up to each others' home gateways when they are out and about. The company's CTO, Balan Nair, noted that every home router being shipped has an additional Wi-Fi SSID that will enable authorized customers to log onto each other's routers securely as if they were public hotspots. (See Broadcom Brings Wi-Fi Roaming to the Home and Intel's Docsis 3.0 Chips Also Do Wi-Fi Sharing.) There has been plenty of talk here about how Europe's cable companies would like to enable "Wi-Fi roaming," and enable cable customers to use the Wi-Fi services of other MSOs when abroad, in the same way that the U.S. operators are striking Wi-Fi access agreements with each other. Look out for more on this from the European operators. (See Cable's Still Finding Its Way on Wi-Fi and Cable Goes Big With Wi-Fi Roaming.) — Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

    (0)  | 
    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
  • Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
    Educational Resources
    sponsor supplied content
    Educational Resources Archive
    Flash Poll
    From The Founder
    Is your network built on 'The Old IP,' or are you part of 'The New IP' revolution?
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    Innovating Access Technology With G.fast

    10|1|14   |   3.42   |   (0) comments


    Exploring the potential of G.fast technology from the point of view of the Broadband Forum, Huawei – and an end-user.
    LRTV Documentaries
    A Cultural Shift for an OTT World

    9|26|14   |   01:41   |   (3) comments


    Telcos need to embrace a new approach to partnerships if they are to generate extra revenues quickly and give customers what they want.
    LRTV Documentaries
    New Skills Needed as Telecom, IT Collide

    9|26|14   |   4:07   |   (1) comment


    As telecom and IT collide, new technologies are emerging, new skills are needed and new opportunities for women are arising.
    UBB Forum News
    Do IP Networks Need An Overhaul?

    9|25|14   |   02:01   |   (0) comments


    As traffic levels ramp, do IP networks need new technologies and topologies?
    LRTV Documentaries
    Sprint Wields Its Influence in the Valley

    9|25|14   |   3:09   |   (11) comments


    Anne-Louise Kardas, Sprint's connection to startups in the Valley, explains how telcos can be innovative and find new opportunities with partners.
    LRTV Documentaries
    SDN, NFV & The Future of XO's Network

    9|25|14   |   3:47   |   (1) comment


    XO Communications COO Don MacNeil explains how cloud, SDN and NFV are altering its network requirements as well as changing data centers of the future.
    UBB Forum News
    The OTT Conundrum

    9|24|14   |   01:39   |   (0) comments


    What is holding back prosperous partnerships between telcos and the OTT players?
    LRTV Documentaries
    Putting Broadband to Work

    9|24|14   |   01:26   |   (0) comments


    High-speed broadband network rollout is key to telco strategies, but it's what happens after the network is built that counts.
    Light Reedy
    Light Reading's Women in Telecom Recap

    9|24|14   |   0:55   |   (4) comments


    Our first Women in Telecom breakfast was a huge success, and we hope you'll join us in London for the next event on November 6.
    UBB Forum News
    Monetizing Ultra-Broadband

    9|24|14   |   01:43   |   (2) comments


    Ultra-broadband networks need to be built, with fiber-to-the-premises the ultimate goal, but they need to be monetized, too.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    Sales Director of INIT on Plug & Play Switch Devices

    9|19|14   |   3:21   |   (0) comments


    INIT Italy uses both the Huawei S5700 and S7700 series switches for the campus LAN environment. Sales Director Andrea Curti says their company chose these Huawei devices over others because of their performance, flexible scalability and plug-and-play features.
    LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
    Saudi Arabia Upgrades Vocational Training System

    9|19|14   |   3:31   |   (0) comments


    The Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) has 100,000 students, 150 government-owned institutions and oversees 1000 private institutes. The CIO of TVTC explains that Huawei devices have allowed them to manage multiple datacenters using just one software program, scientifically tracking the progress of students and teachers, saving them millions.
    Upcoming Live Events
    October 29, 2014, New York City
    November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
    November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
    December 2, 2014, New York City
    December 3, 2014, New York City
    December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
    June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
    Infographics
    Half of the world's population will be connected to the Internet by 2017, but not just by smartphones and desktops.
    Hot Topics
    Facebook Pokes Around LTE Direct
    Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/25/2014
    Is Redbox Instant Shutting Down?
    Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 9/30/2014
    Sprint Wields Its Influence in the Valley
    Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/25/2014
    US Ignite Cultivates Gigabit Apps
    Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 9/25/2014
    Comcast Turns Off Streampix
    Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 9/26/2014
    Like Us on Facebook
    Twitter Feed