As Charles Dickens might have written if he were just a lowly trade reporter, it is the best of times and the worst of times for the cable industry right now.
It is the best of times because cable broadband growth continues to surge, thanks in large part to the COVID-19 pandemic forcing people to do much of their work and education from home. Although cable operators are not adding data subscribers at the record rates achieved in 2020, they are still bringing in new customers by the boatload, boosting their dominance in the broadband market. And they are muscling their way quickly into the mobile market.
But it is also the worst of times because cablecos continue to shed video subscribers at an alarming pace, with no end in sight. Operators also face the prospect of much fiercer broadband competition as telcos, fiber providers, satellite players and a gaggle of smaller companies race to build faster all-fiber networks and deploy high-speed wireless services.
In other words, the glass is half empty and half full for cable operators as they seek to navigate what are hopefully the latter stages of the pandemic and prepare for a post-pandemic world. They are either standing on the edge of a fresh wave of growth and prosperity or are about to slip into the abyss of higher costs, greater competition and subscriber losses.
Cable operators and vendors hope to save the day by developing and deploying the latest technologies and techniques in the industry's bulging tool kit, such as DOCSIS 4.0, Distributed Access Architecture (DAA), Coherent PON, network virtualization, automation, edge computing, artificial intelligence, Wi-Fi 6, power grids and the like. However, they know that they are in a race against time as their rivals pursue their own technological advances.
Hear from the experts
How will this battle play out over the rest of the decade? To find out, please join us next week for our annual Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies conference, taking place digitally and free once again on Tuesday, March 15 and Wednesday, March 16. Now entering its 15th consecutive year, and its third year in an all-digital format, Cable Next-Gen will focus on the latest and greatest trends and developments in cable, broadband, wireless, and related technologies. We'll also cover platforms and services, including COVID-19's impact on the communications landscape.
As always, our speaking roster is loaded with tech experts from companies and organizations such as Comcast, Charter Communications, Altice USA, Cox Communications, Cogeco, Midco, GCI, CableLabs, SCTE, the Consumer Technology Association, Schurz Broadband, izzi telecom and Omdia, among others.
Following are some of this year's speakers:
- Stephanie Mitchko-Beale, executive VP and CTO, Charter Communications
- Elad Nafshi, executive VP and chief network officer, Comcast
- Sherita Ceasar, senior VP, technology environments & strategy, Comcast
- Jeff Finkelstein, chief access scientist, Cox Communications
- Robin Lavoie, fellow, network architecture and strategy, Cogeco
- Julie Kunstler, chief analyst, Omdia
- Mark Dzuban, CEO, SCTE
- Chris Bastian, CTO, SCTE
- Jenny DiLeo, VP, product, Altice USA
- Pao Lo, VP, network engineering, Midco
- Curtis Knittle, VP, wired technologies, CableLabs
- David Debrecht, VP, wireless R&D, CableLabs
- Tom Williams, CTO, Schurz Broadband Group
- Steve Koenig, VP, research, Consumer Technology Association
- Israel Madiedo, innovation and technology director, izzi telecom
- Robert Cruickshank, founder and CTO, PowerNetworks.org
- John Chapman, CTO, broadband technologies, Cisco Systems
- Dan Whalen, president & CEO, ATX Networks Corp.
- Bill McFarland, CTO, Plume
These experts will help us engage in a deep discussion about the role cable tech is playing now and will continue to play in the post-pandemic world. So, make sure you join us for this critical conversation.
Please click here to register for next week's free Cable Next-Gen event.
See you online next Tuesday and Wednesday.
— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading
This item is sponsored by Light Reading Events.