Cable Is Key to 'New' Alcatel-Lucent

Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes laid out his new strategy for the vendor Wednesday morning and identified the cable sector as a hot new prospect for his IP-focused company. (See Alcatel-Lucent Builds Future Around IP.) Combes is putting IP hardware, applications, cloud and virtualization capabilities and broadband architectures at the heart of his product portfolio. And he believes cable operators are ready to deploy a lot of the technologies originally designed for the telco world. Whereas the telcos are migrating from voice-centric architectures to flat, all-IP networks, cable operators are set to go through a similar transition, but from video-centric to IP-centric networks. In addition, the eventual shift to virtualization of many functions currently deployed on cable customer premises equipment (CPE) will also drive new business opportunities for AlcaLu in the cable sector, he said during his lengthy strategy presentation. And this isn't just a fleeting fancy, Combes noted. He said Alcatel-Lucent will invest resources to develop its cable business, which he regards as important to the vendor's future growth as the world's Tier 1 telcos, Web services giants and large enterprises. Cable is "a Tier 1" opportunity, he said. Such a bullish statement will no doubt interest cable operators, but will also attract attention at established cable vendors. In particular, Cisco Systems Inc. will undoubtedly take note, given its strong IP heritage. — Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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