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Cable Europe Labs Merges With CableLabs

CableLabs Adds 14 MSOs From Europe, Asia, and Latin America to its Ranks As Industry Seeks to Achieve Global Scale 8/13/2013 6:02 AM Eastern

CableLabs is going global by adding 14 new MSO members from across Europe, Asia and Latin America, highlighted by a “transition of the activities” of Cable Europe Labs to Louisville, Colo.-based CableLabs.

Cable Europe Labs, a cable technology consortium, has been tasked with researching emerging technologies, developing specifications, and spearheading vendor certification testing for the region. Marking the further global consolidation of the cable industry’s R&D efforts, Cable Europe Labs’ duties have been transferred to CableLabs. Tuesday’s announcement coincides with this week’s CableLabs Summer Conference in Keystone, Colo.

CableLabs started looking at this strategy about nine months ago as part of an effort “to step back and take a global view,” CableLabs president and CEO Phil McKinney said on a conference call Tuesday morning. McKinney, the former CTO of Hewlett-Packard’s personal systems group, took the helm of CableLabs last June.

By way of this more global-focused approach, CableLabs has added nine new members in the European region: Com Hem (Sweden), Get (Norway), Kabel Deutschland (Germany), Liwest (Austria), Ono (Spain), Tele Columbus (Germany), YouSee (Denmark), Ziggo (Netherlands) and ZON (Portugal).  Liberty Global was already a CableLabs member.

CableLabs also announced Tuesday that it has added five new members from Asia and Latin America: J:COM (Japan), PT Link Net (Indonesia), Topway (Shenzhen, China), WASU (Hangzhou, China) and Cablevisión (Argentina).

Tied in, McKinney noted on the call that CableLabs has integrated the work underway with C-DOCSIS, a flavor of DOCSIS that has been tailored for the Chinese cable market  that counts Broadcom, SumaVision, Huawei Technologies and ZTE among its vendor champions.  C-DOCSIS, which targets apartment buildings and other high-density multiple-dwelling units, was selected last year by China’s State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) as an acceptable cable access standard for a next-generation broadband project aimed that spawning more competition for the nation’s telcos.

As designed, C-DOCSIS uses regular  DOCSIS 2.0- or DOCSIS 3.0-certified modems in tandem with a stripped down  version of a cable modem termination system (CMTS) called the Coax Media Converter (CMC). The C-DOCSIS CMC does not support the core routing functions typically found in a full-fledged CMTS. McKinney said C-DOCSIS has been integrated with the CableLabs DOCSIS specifications.

Looking ahead, McKinney said the coming DOCSIS 3.1 work will result in a unified specification that will be followed all cable operators, silicon makers, and cable modem and CMTS suppliers around the globe. The DOCSIS 3.1 specs, expected to be published by CableLabs later this year, is targeting downstream speeds up to 10 Gbps and upstream speeds up to 2 Gbps.

CableLabs estimates that its now broader membership of 51 MSOs serves roughly 120.9 million cable subscribers, up from the 80.8 million subs its 38 members served as of June 2012. Membership fees, paid on a quarterly basis by MSOs, represent a key source of revenue for CableLabs.

CableLabs, which heads up projects such as emerging DOCSIS 3.1 specifications, said it has become “critical that technology standards become aligned to support and accelerate the continued innovation necessary for the cable industry to meet the future needs of the consumers on an international scale.”

It also believes that this alignment of technologies and strategies will help suppliers develop and launch products that “scale across cable operators worldwide.”

“This expansion further demonstrates CableLabs’ dedication to innovation in the cable industry,” McKinney said, in a statement. “Collaborating globally on technology standards and strategies will allow CableLabs to accelerate development of truly innovative technologies, bringing them to market faster, more cost effectively and at scale.”

“The transition of Cable Europe Labs activities to CableLabs opens doors for cable and technology stakeholders globally,” added Mike Fries, chief executive officer, Liberty Global. “Working together and sharing key learnings from individual markets will enable members and technology suppliers to create innovative solutions to meet the current and future needs of subscribers on a global scale.”

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