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Cable/Video

Alcatel Forming Cable Group

Chicago -- Globalcomm 2006 -- Alcatel (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) is in the early stages of building a new group focused on selling its optical and Ethernet gear into the North American cable market, Light Reading has learned.

Alcatel has been focused on North America's traditional telecom operators to date, but now it has the cable operators such as Cox Communications Inc. , Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC), Charter Communications Inc. , Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) in its sights.

Raleigh, North Carolina-based Jay Fausch, senior director of marketing at Alcatel's Fixed Communications Group, has been given the task of building a team. "There are lots of opportunities in the North American cable market" for a combined push with the vendor's optical and Ethernet systems, reckons Fausch.

That's because the cable operators have already latched onto the benefits that the latest optical and Ethernet equipment can bring. Just yesterday Optimum Lightpath , Cablevision's business services division, was awarded the MEF 's 'Service Provider of the Year - Outstanding Innovation' award in a presentation ceremony on the Globalcomm show floor.

Richard Dagnall, director of business development at test lab Iometrix Inc. , which performed the testing for the MEF's awards process, says the "cable companies have the best carrier Ethernet networks based on the tests we've done. I'd say Optimum Lightpath has the network that's closest to a real carrier Ethernet infrastructure right now."

The cable operators are also providing good business to the Ethernet test firms. Paul Sydow, a product line manager at JDSU (Nasdaq: JDSU; Toronto: JDU)'s Communications Test and Measurement division (formerly Acterna), says his company has seen significant sales of Ethernet test gear into the major cable operators.

But Alcatel faces tough competition in a market where major rivals Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Nortel Networks Ltd. , and Siemens Communications Group are already well entrenched, and where Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN) is seeing traction for its optical gear. (See Cable Tuning In Ciena DWDM.)

Susan Schramm, senior VP of marketing, carrier markets, for Siemens in North America, says she's "not surprised" that Alcatel is coming into the cable market, "but there's a big learning curve in cable, and I welcome Alcatel to that learning curve."

Siemens has become well entrenched in the U.S. cable operators with its packet voice systems and its IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) story. Schramm says she's "comfortable" the company can back up that success with optical and Ethernet gear sales to the MSOs, building on its current softswitch success and adding to the DWDM equipment traction it has with the RBOCs. (See Siemens, Time Warner Demo, Siemens Unveils VOIP Package, Will AT&T Value BellSouth's Vendors?, AT&T Certifies Surpass DWDM, and Ciena and Siemens Share MCI Glory.)

Alcatel isn't the only vendor here at Globalcomm that fancies some cable operator action. Aviv Ronai, associate VP of marketing at ECI Telecom Ltd. 's Broadband Access division, says the vendor is targeting the MSOs with its service edge routers (formerly the Laurel Networks edge routers) as the cable operators ramp up their triple play activities. (See ECI to Buy Laurel for $88M.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

Michael Harris 12/5/2012 | 3:52:23 AM
re: Alcatel Forming Cable Group For more on the Alcatel Cable dynamics, check out CDN's coverage of the issue last month at http://www.cabledigitalnews.co...

Pitching their existing optical, Ethernet, edge routing and IPTV offerings to MSOs through a "cable group" is a no brainer. The question for Alcatel is whether they have enough chutzpah to make a cable acquisition and claim some serious customer and network real estate. Some logical targets would be BigBand Networks, ARRIS or Terayon. With complementary digital video and IP access solutions, Alcatel could become a legitimate alternative to Cisco for cable operators. Cisco bought S-A in part to attack Alcatel in telco video. Will Alcatel respond by going after Cisco in Cable?
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