SCTE Sets 1st Cable Energy Standards

Cable tech group issues initial set of four standards to measure power consumption in the access network, core and edge facilities and network equipment.

Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

July 30, 2015

3 Min Read
SCTE Sets 1st Cable Energy Standards

Carrying out its mission to cut the cable industry's power consumption and costs, a leading cable tech group has issued the first four standards to achieve those goals.

The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) , which embarked last year on a five-year program to make the cable industry substantially more energy efficient by the end of the decade, came out with the new "green" standards for cable networks and equipment on Thursday. The four standards are the first batch of perhaps a dozen or more that the group plans to craft to help operators reduce their energy loads and bills.

The Energy 2020 program spells out five prime goals for the industry to meet by the decade's end. It calls for cable operators to cut power consumption by 20% on a unit basis; slash energy costs by 25% on a unit basis; reduce grid dependency by 10%; optimize technical facilities and datacenter footprints by 20%; and establish partnerships with vendors to enact similar savings in hardware development. Among other things, SCTE officials are looking to leverage such alternative energy sources as solar, hydrogen cells and propane to help them meet their savings goals. (See SCTE Pushes Cable Energy Savings .)

Under the program, the SCTE is teaming up with a number of leading North American cable operators and equipment vendors to trim energy use and costs in five major areas -- facilities, plant, operations, technology and marketing/regulatory. In all, the program has identified 12 "primary initiatives" across these five categories.

The first set of four standards address at least some of these areas. SCTE officials say the standards create metrics, uniform baselines and measurement functions to help operators benchmark their energy usage, assess their current energy consumption and estimate the power requirements for future services.

"It's really important to do baselining around the energy space," said Dan Cooper, VP of critical infrastructure for Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) and chair of SCTE's Standards Energy Management Subcommittee. "You really need to be able to measure it [energy consumption] so you can adjust it."

Specifically, the new cable energy standards encompass:

  • SCTE 210 2015, which sets energy performance guidelines for cable rack and shelf equipment;

  • SCTE 211 2015, which measures how changes in cable access networks affect energy use;

  • SCTE 212 2015, which offers guidelines for setting energy baselines for cable networks and facilities; and

  • SCTE 213 2015, which sets guidelines for measuring how changes in cable edge and core facilities affect energy consumption.

Cooper noted that SCTE 211 and SCTE 213 "really go hand-in-hand" because they focus on two key, related areas -- the access network and the edge and core facilities. "You need them together," he said. "To get the comprehensive view, you need both of them."

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Now that the first energy standards have been developed, SCTE officials will work on getting cable operators to implement the standards in their network operations and equipment purchases. Cooper said the tech group expects to announce the first MSO participants by its Cable-Tec Expo conference in New Orleans in mid-October.

SCTE officials have a head start in doing just that. Eight North American cable operators have already signed up as general partners in the Energy 2020 program, including the three largest MSOs in the US and one of the two largest ones in Canada. The lineup includes Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications Inc. , Bright House Networks , Rogers Communications Inc. (Toronto: RCI), Suddenlink Communications , Buckeye CableSystem and BendBroadband .

Cooper said his subcommittee's nine working groups will likely be issuing more energy standards for the industry shortly. "This is only the first step," he said. "You're going to see a number of them."

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

About the Author(s)

Alan Breznick

Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

Alan Breznick is a business editor and research analyst who has tracked the cable, broadband and video markets like an over-bred bloodhound for more than 20 years.

As a senior analyst at Light Reading's research arm, Heavy Reading, for six years, Alan authored numerous reports, columns, white papers and case studies, moderated dozens of webinars, and organized and hosted more than 15 -- count 'em --regional conferences on cable, broadband and IPTV technology topics. And all this while maintaining a summer job as an ostrich wrangler.

Before that, he was the founding editor of Light Reading Cable, transforming a monthly newsletter into a daily website. Prior to joining Light Reading, Alan was a broadband analyst for Kinetic Strategies and a contributing analyst for One Touch Intelligence.

He is based in the Toronto area, though is New York born and bred. Just ask, and he will take you on a power-walking tour of Manhattan, pointing out the tourist hotspots and the places that make up his personal timeline: The bench where he smoked his first pipe; the alley where he won his first fist fight. That kind of thing.

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