Video services

Alcatel-Lucent Tries Another Cable Angle

Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) has tried a lot of different ways to boost its cable presence, so far with limited success. Its latest effort involves a video technology partnership with Concurrent Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: CCUR), a server and software company that has relationships with some major cable operators.

The vendors have unveiled a joint offering aimed at helping cable operators expand their video-on-demand libraries for all manner of screens. Alcatel-Lucent has integrated its Velocix content delivery network (CDN) platform with two classes of Concurrent video servers: the Unified Origin server, which is used for central libraries; and the TV-VoD edge server, which caches the most popular content.

The partners claim to have completed a trial of this joint architecture with a "large tier 1 cable MSO." That MSO hasn't been named, but Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) is one of their shared customers. In this recent LRTV interview, TW Cable's James Manchester discussed how the company is working with partners such as AlcaLu to beef up the quality of its TV Everywhere offerings.

Concurrent has also notched some recent wins with Germany's Kabel Deutschland GmbH , Vectra of Poland, and Jupiter Telecommunications Co. Ltd. (J:COM) , Japan's largest cable operator. Cox Communications Inc. , an MSO with CDN aspirations, is another of Concurrent's key U.S. customers. AlcaLu and Concurrent will be showing off their handiwork at this week's IBC show in Amsterdam.

Why this matters
The deal with Concurrent could give Alcatel-Lucent some additional exposure to the North American cable industry, which has historically been a weak point for the company. AlcaLu flirted with the idea of expanding its cable technology portfolio by developing Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP) products but has not pursued it further, leaving that category to incumbents such as Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS), Harmonic Inc. (Nasdaq: HLIT) and Motorola Mobility.

Multiple industry sources believe AlcaLu will be in the running to acquire Google's cable assets when it puts Motorola's Home division on the block this fall. Short of that, partnerships with incumbent cable vendors might serve as AlcaLu's best angle into the domestic cable market. (See Google Taps Barclays to Shop Motorola Home and Light Reading Poll: Who Will Take Motorola Home?)

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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