SCTE, CableLabs: ‘Joined at the Hip’

Groups Boost Collaborative Efforts

The two main industry groups aiming to steer cable’s technology agenda — the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers and CableLabs — haven’t always had a tight connection.

But now, relations between them have never been better, SCTE president and CEO Mark Dzuban said, with SCTE increasingly acting as the “applied science” partner to CableLabs’ R&D initiatives.

“We’re continuing to crisp this up [with CableLabs],” he said. “We were somewhat ships in the night when I started three years ago.”

In the latest example of their teamwork, at the SCTE’s Cable-Tec Expo this week in Orlando, Fla., the two groups will jointly present a special session, “DOCSIS 3.1 Specification and Standard Development.” The discussion will include speakers from CableLabs and MSOs, as well as an overview of network preparedness and training from SCTE on the new spec, which promises speeds of up to 10 Gigabits per second downstream.

With DOCSIS 3.1, “you’re going to see SCTE and CableLabs absolutely joined at the hip,” SCTE chief technology officer Daniel Howard said.

Added Howard, “It’s all about being proactive. We’re not waiting until the spec is fleshed out before we say, ‘What’s necessary to get this up and running?’”

In addition, CableLabs and SCTE are teaming for an opening general session discussion between Dzuban and CableLabs president and CEO Phil McKinney, along with National Cable & Telecommunications Association chief of staff K. Dane Snowden.

Dzuban also noted that CableLabs chief technology officer Ralph Brown is joining the SCTE board effective Oct. 16.

SCTE recently evaluated moving its flagship Expo back to its traditional June dates. However, the association concluded that early fall is the optimal time for the conference given the timing of other industry events, Dzuban said. “In the spring, it’s tough,” he said. The 2013 Cable-Tec Expo in New Orleans is scheduled for Sept. 18-20. The following year, the trade show will be in Denver in early fall.