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Cloud Native/NFV

Harmonic's 'CableOS' rollout spans 2.1M modems, 38 operators

Deployments of CableOS, Harmonic's software for the virtual Converged Cable Access Platform (vCCAP), continue to expand among both large and midsized operators.

Harmonic said CableOS ended Q3 serving more than 2.1 million cable modems, up 122% from a year ago, and up by about 400,000 from Q2 2020. A majority of the active cable modems on Harmonic's software platform – over 1.4 million – were being served by the vendor's distributed access architecture, Patrick Harshman, Harmonic's CEO, explained on Monday's earnings call.

As of mid-October, CableOS was deployed by 38 cable operators worldwide, up nine from Q2 2020 and a 100% increase from the year-ago period. That momentum helped to push Harmonic's cable access revenues to $40.3 million in Q3, up 121.5% year-over-year.

Harmonic hasn't identified all of its CableOS deployments, but Comcast, which represented 20% of Harmonic revenues in Q3, is the vendor's largest vCCAP customer. Vodafone, which recently signed on to deploy CableOS, represented 12% of Harmonic revenues in the quarter. Harshman said Harmonic will announce a new deployment with a "top five" North American operator by the end of the year.

Simon Leopold, analyst with Raymond James, speculated in a research note that Harmonic's still-undisclosed win with a Tier 1 North American operator is with Cox Communications or a Canadian cable operator. Notably, Cox and three Canadian operators (Videotron, Rogers Communications and Shaw Communications) all have technology syndication deals centered on Comcast's X1 platform. Comcast has been exploring a syndication model for the vCCAP it launched in partnership with Harmonic.

"We see data points as furthering Harmonic's lead in virtual CCAP over Casa Systems, Cisco and CommScope," Leopold wrote.

CableOS for FTTP

CableOS started off as a technology for hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) networks. But Harmonic has also adapted CableOS to run on fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) networks as MSOs deploy FTTP in greenfield scenarios and, in general, pursue network and service convergence strategies.

Harshman said Harmonic's first FTTP CableOS field trials are well underway and that the supplier has notched its first volume purchase order, but didn't identify the operator. "This is an important strategic milestone, demonstrating the extensibility of our cloud-native CableOS platform beyond traditional cable applications and, specifically, the opportunity for Harmonic to address the large and growing fiber-to-the-home market," he said.

Video rebound, C-band reclamation projects on deck

Harmonic's video business rebounded, with revenues up 15% to $54.6 million, as projects put off by the pandemic resumed. Harmonic ended the quarter with more than 48,000 live streaming channels deployed, up 15% year-over-year.

Harmonic is also pursuing opportunities via an initiative focused on reclaiming C-band spectrum for 5G that, the company estimates, could be worth "several hundred million" dollars to the vendor in the coming years. Harmonic is working with incumbent C-band users, including SES, to move a portion of their satellite video distribution to terrestrial delivery systems or to migrate them to hybrid platforms that rely on both terrestrial and satellite delivery.

"We received our first multi-million-dollar order associated with the C-band 5G opportunity during the third quarter and we continue to expect to recognize revenue beginning in the fourth quarter," Harshman said.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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