Cable-Tec Expo, SCTE's flagship event, has been rebranded as 'TechExpo' starting with this fall's show. It's one in a string of examples in which 'cable' has been cast aside amid broader changes cascading across the industry.

Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor

March 7, 2024

5 Min Read
 A cable TV connector
(Source: Piotr Malczyk/Alamy Stock Photo)

The demise of "cable" as an industry label continued this week with word that SCTE's flagship annual event, Cable-Tec Expo, has been rebranded as "TechExpo." The new name will take hold starting with this fall's confab, set for September 24-26 in Atlanta.

And the annual event has a new logo to go with the new name:

SCTE TechExpo 2024 logo.jpg

As an email distributed by CableLabs, SCTE's owner as of January 2021, explained it this week: "SCTE's flagship event has evolved over the years and now incorporates much more than cable – it is a gathering place that includes new audiences such as policy, security and sustainability."

It's a clear signal that showgoers can expect a broader set of technologies and issues to be on tap. From a whitepaper perspective, this year's event is seeking submissions on topics spanning wireless/wireline network convergence, AI and machine learning, cloud services, energy management and sustainability.

And the show's name change also speaks to the evolving focus of CableLabs, which continues to hoist the DOCSIS flag while also expanding into wireless and a laser focus on fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) technologies.

The rebranding of SCTE's annual show is just one more example in a string of them in which the word "cable" has been fully extracted, cast to the periphery or been moved to the back seat.

We went through this exercise back in 2019 as the industry continued to put a greater emphasis on "connectivity," suggesting that The Cable Guy, the 1996 comedy starring Jim Carrey, might require a retitling if Hollywood really, really ran out of ideas and went with a remake:

Movie poster for The Connectivity Guy

Wholesale, across-the-industry changes have not taken shape, so the "cable" heritage still endures – at least for now.

CableLabs is still CableLabs and the SCTE is still an abbreviation for the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers. The Cable Hall of Fame has not pivoted to become The Connectivity Hall of Fame, and its inductees still take home a statue that is proudly topped with a big, fancy "C." The Cable TV Pioneers also remains unchanged. CableFAX, where I cut my teeth covering this industry back in the DOCSIS 1.0 era, no longer relies on fax-based distribution, but continues to provide a valuable, comprehensive view of daily doings.

Light Reading's Cable Next-Gen Technologies and Strategies, set for next week in Denver for the event's 17th year, also hasn't wavered – at least not yet. If a name change is in the making, it's a decision that's well above my pay grade.

There are other holdouts. Cable Cable, our redundant friend based in Fenelon Falls, Ontario, Canada, has kept its core brand. But perhaps that's temporary in the wake of its purchase by Rogers Communications in 2020. There are already signs of a future change as the company is now being billed as Cable Cable Powered by Rogers.

But there's a bevy of examples in which "cable" has faded away or been relegated to co-star status:

  • What was the National Cable Telecommunications Association (NCTA), the industry's top lobbying organization, no longer refers to itself as such. The org rebranded in 2016 as NCTA – The Internet & Television Association. And the NCTA's annual event, which used to be known as The Cable Show, was briefly recast as INTX: The Internet and Television Expo before the show faded to black after the 2016 confab in Washington, DC.

  • The National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC), an org that cuts programming and tech deals for independent operators, went even further in 2022 when it dropped both "Cable" and "Television" to become the National Content & Technology Cooperative.

  • The Cable Center in Denver kept the name, but pushed it out of of the starring role with last year's launch of its new "operational brand": the Syndeo Institute. These days, the organization refers to itself as Syndeo Institute at The Cable Center. But The Cable Center building on the University of Denver campus is still The Cable Center.

  • The American Cable Association, a lobbying group for the Tier 2/3 crowd, changed the "C" as it morphed to become ACA – America's Communications Association, and now goes with the name ACA Connects.

  • Harmonic's virtual cable modem termination system, originally known as "CableOS," was rebranded last fall as "cOS" in part to reflect that the platform has been adapted to support both hybrid fiber-coax (HFC) and FTTP networks.

  • Cable One is still legally known as Cable One, but pivoted to the "Sparklight" brand in 2018. Comcast introduced the "Xfinity" brand in February 2010, and Charter Communications now leans hard on the "Spectrum" brand. Altice USA now uses the "Optimum" brand that was originally established by Cablevision Systems. BuckeyeCable System is now Buckeye Broadband.

  • Women in Cable Telecommunications is now branded as The WICT Network, and CTAM goes by its acronym, no longer spelling it out as the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing.

That's just an illustrative list of examples. No doubt there are plenty more.

But, taken together, it's a clear signal that, with apologies to Bob Dylan, the times, they are a-changin'. The industry is no longer solely about "cable," but instead has evolved to become relatively agnostic at the access network and a platform that can deliver a much broader assortment of services.

Or to put it more bluntly: Change or die. Given that choice, change has clearly become the order of the day for the "cable" industry.

About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

Subscribe and receive the latest news from the industry.
Join 62,000+ members. Yes it's completely free.

You May Also Like