CableLabs Chief Bows Out
Dr. Richard Green is to hang up his slide rule.
Green, who has served as the first and only chief of CableLabs since its founding in 1988, intends to retire when his current contract expires in December 2009. He informed the CableLabs executive committee of his decision last week in New York.
No successor has been named for the Louisville, Colo.-based R&D organization, which heads up and develops some of the cable industry's highest-profile specifications and platforms, including Docsis, PacketCable, OpenCable, tru2way , and the still-evolving Downloadable Conditional Access System (DCAS). (See Cisco, Moto Take Control of DCAS .)
Under his watch at the sometimes politically charged group, MSOs both large and small have tapped CableLabs specs to fuel important growth engines such as high-speed Internet and voice services. Using common systems developed by CableLabs and its members, U.S. operators have used Docsis or PacketCable to support more than 37 million cable modem subscribers and about 16.5 million telephone customers.
Cable operators are just now starting to deploy Docsis 3.0, an emerging CableLabs platform that's designed to push shared Internet speeds beyond 100 Mbit/s.
Green was not immediately available for comment about his decision. A CableLabs spokeswoman confirmed that a successor to Green will be found through a formal selection process to ensure an "orderly transition," but could not say when CableLabs expects to hire a replacement. But there's still plenty of time, as Green's expected departure is about 15 months away.
"The entire industry is indebted to Dick for building and managing one of the most successful development laboratories in the country. CableLabs has, and will, continue to play a critical role in our industry's success," said Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) chairman and CEO (and CableLabs board chairman) Brian Roberts in a prepared statement.
Although most of CableLabs's work occurs within the relatively friendly confines of the cable industry, Green did spark some controversy in June at the NXTcomm conference, when he suggested that the tru2way platform for digital set-tops and televisions uses several globally accepted standards and is, therefore, not exclusive to cable but applicable to telco TV providers, as well. (See Telcos: Climb Aboard the Tru2way Train.)
No telcos have stepped forward to support tru2way yet, and one, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), has argued that tru2way is incompatible with the FiOS TV platform. (See Verizon: No Way on tru2way , NCTA Counters Verizon's Tru2way Claims , and Verizon Stokes a Tru2way Stalemate .)
In May, we caught up with Green at The Cable Show in New Orleans, where the cable industry spent a good deal of effort touting tru2way. Here's what Green had to say about it at the time:
Before taking the helm of CableLabs 20 years ago, Green was the SVP of broadcast operations and engineering at PBS. Before that, he managed ABC's videotape post-production department and helped organize and establish the Advanced Television Systems Committee. Green holds a PhD in astrophysics from the University of Washington, an MS in physics from the State University of New York in Albany, and a BS from Colorado College.
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News