Anything you can do, I can do better. That was the message that the cable industry's top engineers delivered loud and clear to AT&T and Verizon Communications at the NCTA National Show in Atlanta yesterday. Speaking on a special Monday morning panel, the four MSO CTOs expressed great confidence that they can more than match anything coming down the pike from the nation's two largest telephone companies.
Despite the much-ballyhooed fiber-rich networks that AT&T and Verizon are frenetically building throughout the U.S., the four cable CTOs insisted that the industry's established HFC networks still offer greater potential bandwidth. They also stressed that they can use such techniques as fiber node splits, channel bonding and switched digital video to expand their capacity further.
"I think our network is very much better, and one of the main reasons is because it exists," said Time Warner Cable CTO Mike LaJoie. "It's not like there's anything they can do with their plant that we can't do with ours within a reasonable time period."
Comcast CTO Dave Fellows pointed out that neither AT&T nor Verizon is actually building fiber all the way to the home, in spite of their fiber proclamations. He noted that even Verizon, the more ambitious of the two telcos, is really building "fiber to the side of the house" and then connecting TV sets, set-top boxes, computers and other electronics devices in the home with good old-fashioned coax.
"We're fiber to where it makes money," he said, only half jokingly. "We're even and I've got bigger pipes."