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Thread: Daily Satellite TV News

Mediaset España turns in solid results Mediaset España has posted solid full year 2016 results, with total revenues of €992

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    Mediaset España turns in solid results

    Mediaset España has posted solid full year 2016 results, with total revenues of €992 million, up 2.1%, and EBITDA of €241 million, up 8.3%. The company has benefited from continued strong growth of the Spanish economy, with the TV advertising market growing by 5.5% in the course of the year.

    Mediaset España had a TV market share of 43.3% in 2016, making it the leader in commercial TV. Advertising revenues for the group’s seven channels grew by 5.2% to €931 million.

    Spain remains a primarily linear market, with linear TV accounting for 98.7% of the total daily average TV consumption. Average daily TV viewers number 7.1 million. Average daily TV consumption was 233 minutes, of which only three minutes per person per day was non-linear.

    Analysts at Berenberg gave Mediaset España a ‘hold’ rating, predicting 4% growth in the TV advertising market this year, reflecting a slight slowdown in GDP growth.

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    Why DOCSIS May Never Die

    If you're looking for cable operators to ditch their current hybrid-fiber coax (HFC) networks in favor of FTTH networks en masse, then you'd better prepare yourself for an awfully long wait.

    Despite bold, high-profile moves by such major MSOs as Altice to go all-fiber in the US over the next few years, most large US and European cable operators are now lining up in support of the new DOCSIS 3.1 spec to deliver gigabit services. In recent weeks, for instance, both Charter Communications Inc. and Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY) have signaled their intentions to go ahead with DOCSIS 3.1 rollouts, with Charter issuing an RFP to vendors for D3.1 modems and Liberty Global announcing plans to start D3.1 field trials in the second half of the year. (See Charter Issues RFP for D3.1 Modems and Altice USA Sticks to High-Fiber Diet.)

    Beyond that, leading cable operators are also lining up behind the more futuristic Full Duplex DOCSIS spec, which is still bring crafted by CableLabs . Even though that proposed next-gen spec can't possibly be available for field use for at least two more years, such large MSOs as Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Charter and Cox Communications Inc. are all counting on it to enable multi-gigabit symmetrical speeds of up to 10 Gbit/s over their HFC networks in the near future.

    And even beyond that, cable technologists are now studying how to use coherent optics technology to boost the capacity of their HFC networks much, much further. At their Winter Conference in Orlando last month, CableLabs officials said coherent optics could help cablecos make much more efficient use of the fiber part and optical spectrum of their plant, potentially increasing the total capacity of their HFC networks by more than 1,000 times. (See New CableLabs Optical Tech Promises Big Bandwidth Boost.)

    So, exactly two decades after the original DOCSIS 1.0 spec was released by CableLabs, cable's workhorse broadband protocol is still going quite strong today and can look forward to a seemingly limitless future. Happy Birthday, DOCSIS. Welcome to your 20s.

    To mark the occasion, we'll be looking closely at the future of DOCSIS when we convene Light Reading's tenth annual Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies conference in Denver next week. The conference, which started out in March 2007 to chart the progress of the then-new DOCSIS 3.0 spec, has now become the premier independent cable tech event in North America. Due to popular demand and a sellout crowd last spring, the event is expanding to two days (Tuesday March 21 and Wednesday March 22) and a larger facility (Curtis Hotel) this time around.

    But, unlike that initial conference, we won't be confining our discussions just to DOCSIS' promising prospects. Over the course of the two days, a dozen panels will delve into such meaty topics as cable's pursuit of Distributed Access Architecture, the virtualization of key network functions for both residential and commercial services, and the pros and cons of coherent optics. In addition, we'll tackle cable's deep fiber builds, budding wireless ambitions, IP/cloud video efforts, OTT video maneuvers and 4K/UHD video challenges, along with Full Duplex DOCSIS, DOCSIS 3.1 and other subjects.

    Besides all the panel discussions and debates, Cable Next-Gen will also serve up a potpourri of keynote presentations and fireside chats featuring ten tech leaders from the cable, OTT and online video worlds.

    Our first-day highlights will include up-close sessions with: Jeff Finkelstein, executive director of advanced access architectures for Cox; Robert Howald, VP of network architecture for Comcast; Dennis Stevens, SVP of product development and strategic programs for Shaw Communications Inc. ; and Balan Nair, CTO of Liberty Global.

    And our second-day highlights will include presentations by or one-on-one chats with: Ben Watkins, an executive producer at Amazon Prime Video; Joe Inzerillo, EVP and CTO of MLBAM ; Andrew Ferrone, VP of Pay TV at Roku Inc. ; Jason Thibeault, executive director of the Streaming Video Alliance ; Mike LaJoie, former CTO of Time Warner Cable; and Michael Willner, president and CEO of Penthera Partners Inc. .

    Cable Next-Gen will also offer specially targeted breakfast workshops each day. Besides the usual breakfast spreads in the hallways outside the conference rooms, we will have a panel on UHD video's prospects (for service providers only) sponsored by Verimatrix Inc. on Tuesday and a session on why mentoring matters hosted by our Women in Comms group on Wednesday. Both breakfasts require separate registration. (See Mentoring in the Mountains: Join WiC in Denver!.)

    As well, the conference will offer lots of schmoozing opportunities for service providers and vendors alike. Besides all the usual breakfasts, lunches and coffee breaks scheduled over the two days, there will be a cocktail reception at the end of the first day, followed by a two-hour party/kickoff event at the nearby Rock Bottom Brewery.

    Finally, the weather promises to cooperate with sunny skies and temps in the low-to-mid 60s in Denver next week. So how can you go wrong? Sign up now for Light Reading's Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies event on March 21-22, at the Curtis Hotel in downtown Denver. We'll be expecting you.

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    Spain: Euskaltel to buy Telecable

    More consolidation is taking place in the Spanish cable market. The Basque Country-based Euskaltel is reportedly close to acquiring the regional cable network Telecable, based in Asturias, north of Spain, in a deal valued at €750 million.

    Euskaltel is in advanced negotiations with the British group Zegona, owner of Telecable, to carry out the acquisition creating a big cable group in the north of Spain with operations in the Basque Country, Galicia and Asturias. This is the second consolidation move made by Euskaltel which in 2015 it acquired R company in Galicia.

    With the acquisition of Telecable, Zegona would become a shareholder of Euskaltel (as the operation would be made partly through an exchange of shares and party in cash) where the Regional bank Kutxabank currently has the majority stakes of 25.85 per cent.

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    Ooredoo launches first 4K/UHD channels in the Middle East with Harmonic

    Harmonic’s Electra™ VS System Supports IPTV and OTT Delivery, Ensuring Crystal-Clear Video Quality on Every Screen Using HEVC Encoding

    SAN JOSE, Calif. — Harmonic (NASDAQ: HLIT), the worldwide leader in video delivery infrastructure, today announced that Ooredoo, an international telecommunications operator headquartered in Doha, Qatar, has launched the first 4K TV channels in the Middle East using a next-generation Electra™ video compression solution for all-IP environments. Ooredoo’s new multiscreen channels — called FunBox UHD and C4K360 — offer a combination of 24/7 programming, including live TV, time-shift TV and video-on-demand (VOD) content.

    “The FunBox UHD channel is available today for all subscribers of Ooredoo tv,” said Fatima Sultan Al Kuwari, community and public relations director, Ooredoo Qatar. “This launch is part of our push to offer leading international and local content to our customers. Harmonic enables us to deliver best-in-class video quality so subscribers can enjoy more breathtaking visual content, detail, contrast dynamics and extended colors than ever before.”

    According to SNL Kagan, by 2020 more than 40 million consumers around the world will be watching close to 250 linear UHD channels. At the heart of Ooredoo’s UHD workflow is Harmonic’s Electra VS convergent video system, which supports IPTV delivery, as well as OTT live and VOD streaming, ensuring crystal-clear UHD video for viewers on every screen. The Electra VS system fully supports UHD with HDR, allowing for enhanced video quality in the future and increased monetization.

    “Aside from bandwidth concerns in the Middle East, video formats are changing all the time, making the delivery of content to multiple networks a real challenge,” said Ian Graham, vice president of sales, EMEA and LATAM, at Harmonic. “Our Electra VS solution resolves those challenges, supporting OTT and IPTV delivery, with HEVC encoding for both live and file-based content. UHD is the future, and we are helping Ooredoo pave the way toward delivering higher resolution video to any screen in Qatar.”

    Harmonic will showcase a comprehensive range of solutions that bring increased operational efficiencies and enhanced video quality to broadcast and OTT production and delivery at Harmonic’s stand #A2-30 during CABSAT 2017 in Dubai, March 21-23.

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    nc+ reveals OTT strategy

    The Polish DTH platform nc+ plans to launch an OTT service this year, most probably in the summer, according to its president Manuel Rougeron.
    Quoted by Rzeczpospolita, he added that at this stage nc+ has no plans to cooperate with such OTT players as Netflix and Showmax.

    However, it will continue to invest in its own productions and to revamp its MVNO offer, working with Orange.

    Meanwhile, Jacek Balicki, a member of the board at nc+ responsible for marketing, has said that its nc+ Go service currently has 366,000 subscribers, most of who watch streamed linear services rather than the VOD offer.

    Nc+ ended 2016 with 2.12 million subscribers, the same as a year earlier.

    Its revenues, at €492 million, were 2.2% higher than in 2015.

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    Cable industry needs smarter pipes, not just faster ones

    The cable industry has “grown like hell” because it has the fastest broadband pipes but speed is not enough and cable operators need to have the most intelligent pipes, too. That is according to Dr Manuel Cubero, the CEO at

    Kabel Deutschland and CCO for Vodafone Germany. His company is already working on some smart home applications with housing associations in Germany and wants to become ever-more useful to consumers, like telling us where to find goods that we need.

    The immediate priority, when it comes to delivering intelligence rather than just speed, is fixed/mobile convergence, Cubero told the gathered cable industry at Cable Congress last week. Having added cable assets like Kabel Deutschland to its business, Vodafone is now trying to sell mobile to its fixed broadband customers and broadband to mobile customers, and the company is confident the combination of DOCSIS 3.1 and 4G is winner, with 5G still to come.

    Eric Tveter, the CEO for Central Europe Group at Liberty Global, also highlighted the importance of fixed/mobile convergence to the future of cable. And, referring to calls from the media agency Omnicom Media Group for cable operators to invest seriously in harnessing rich data that will originate from their homes, Tveter pointed to the advanced advertising group that will roll-out addressable and interactive advertising across the Liberty Global territories. This will make use of customer data in a privacy complaint manner.

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    STV Player claims world-first for DAI in live streaming on Amazon Fire TV

    STV Player, the online TV service for STV, the broadcaster and digital media brand that covers Scotland (and whose schedule is populated with ITV content like ‘Broadchurch’, ‘Coronation Street’ and ‘Britain’s Got Talent’) is claiming to be the first broadcaster anywhere to provide fully targetable Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI) in live streaming on Amazon Fire TV. STV Player with DAI-enabled live streaming is available across all Fire TV devices including the new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, which was launched by Amazon in February. Amazon Fire TV was STV Player’s fastest growing distribution channel in 2016.

    The ad insertion capabilities are powered by Yospace, whose server-side DAI platform allows advertising to be replaced seamlessly. “By inserting ads on the server side, the process of delivering fully addressable advertising across multiple platforms and devices is significantly simplified, and this has allowed STV to implement a true multi-platform advertising strategy,” the vendor comments.

    Rémi Brunier, STV Player product owner, says: “STV was first in the UK to launch DAI live on web, iOS and Android in 2014 and we are first to provide DAI on Amazon Fire TV, offering further value for advertisers with fully targeted commercials in live streaming. STV was a launch partner of the Amazon Fire TV in 2014 and this further strengthens our partnership.”

    Tim Sewell, CEO of Yospace, adds: “STV has been leading the way in live streaming for a number of years and now it is leading the way in implementing a full cross-platform strategy. The launch of DAI for Fire TV demonstrates that STV continues to operate at the cutting edge of commercial television.”

    Yospace has become a market leader for dynamic ad insertion into live online television, helped by a robust platform that delivers a broadcast-standard user experience. BT Sport is among the other UK media companies using the solution: the broadcaster has created a vast amount of new inventory for its streamed live sports coverage, having deployed DAI last autumn in time for the 2016 Premier League football season.
    Yospace has previously pointed out that server-side ad replacement has become a crucial tool for broadcasters who want to monetise their online content. “Without it, as in the case of live sports, viewers can be watching for a number of hours without seeing any ads that are sold for online.”

    Yospace announced support for MPEG-DASH with its DAI solution last summer, complementing the original HLS offering. The company also announced a partnership last August with THEOplayer to enable its server-side ad replacement across live channels in HTML5 (working in HLS and MPEG-DASH). THEOplayer integrates seamlessly with streams secured by Widevine, PlayReady or FairPlay DRM systems. “We now make it possible for content owners to optimally monetise their content across all platforms and devices in HTML5, while offering a world class viewer experience,” Yospace explained at the time.

    Yospace was in Barcelona a few weeks ago for Mobile World Congress, where it has a long-standing partnership with GSMA to help deliver Mobile World Live TV on web and mobile. Two Mobile World Live TV channels were streamed live: a 24/7 studio channel featuring interviews with global industry leaders, discussion panels and news, and a keynote channel that broadcast all the keynote sessions from the conference programme.

    Yospace’s encoders prepared the live feeds for delivery across iOS, Android and web browsers and the company’s live-to-VOD service captured programmes, including keynotes, as they were broadcast and automatically made them available for catch-up within minutes of them ending. Pre-roll promotions could be applied to the new VOD assets using server-side stitching.

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    Vodafone UK and Virgin Media Reignite Talk of a Possible Asset Swap

    The rumour mill is turning again as a new report claims that mobile giant Vodafone has reopened secret talks with European cable operator Liberty Global, which raises the possibility of an asset swap with their Virgin Media division in the United Kingdom.

    Talks over the possibility of a mega merger or asset swap were first officially confirmed in June 2015, following several months of speculation (here). At the time it was claimed that some of Vodafone’s biggest shareholders had been putting pressure on the mobile giant to do a deal with Liberty Global.

    As part of this Vodafone might have benefited by gaining access to a much bigger fixed line cable and TV network, which would help it to compete with BT in the UK (BT recently merged with Vodafone’s rival EE). On the flip side Liberty Global would have secured their own Mobile platform and this might have broken Virgin Media free from their Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) shackles with BT / EE.

    Unfortunately the two struggled to reach a mutually agreeable price and thus the prospect of a deal collapsed (here). No doubt Vodafone’s complicated financial (tax) and regulatory situation might have also caused a few headaches. Never the less both sides did leave the door open to the possibility of future negotiation.

    Fast forward from 2015 to February 2017 and Vodafone’s CEO, Vittorio Colao, started to hint at a change. “It is still an attractive combination. The deal is not on the table. But as a project, it’s an interesting project. If Europe wants the creation of real alternatives to incumbents [like BT, then] Vodafone and Liberty are the only two guys in town,” said Colao.

    Now The Register claims to have been told by a company insider that negotiations have reopened, with talks taking place on the fourth floor of Vodafone’s HQ in Newbury (Berkshire). “Only certain high-level members of staff are permitted access. Visitors are permitted but only from Liberty Global,” said the source. Liberty Global’s Chief Development Officer and SVP, Andrea Salvato, is allegedly leading the discussions for his company.

    Once again various options are likely to be discussed and we note that the pair have recently completed a similar merger in the Netherlands, which may have improved the prospects for a deal in the UK. However it’s worth pointing out that Virgin Media only recently signed a major new MVNO deal with BT / EE (here), which might complicate matters. It’s worth pointing out that Vodafone also recently shelved their plans for launching a Pay TV service in the UK (here).

    Otherwise we’d agree that some form of deal to connect Vodafone and Virgin Media in the UK does make a lot of sense, provided both sides can overcome the many complicated challenges involved and agree on a price. Meanwhile there are also reports that Liberty Global might have an interest in O2 UK (here), although it’s hardly a surprise that such claims would occur at the same time as the alleged Vodafone talks (tactical).

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    Spanish Digital TV Tech Forum adopts HbbTV 2

    The Spanish Digital TV Tech Forum (Foro Técnico de la Televisión Digital) has adopted the new standard HbbTV 2 version 2.0.1 in its DTT receiver’s specification for the Spanish market.

    The announcement was made by the Asociación Española de Televisión Digital Interactiva (AEDETI) and the HbbTV Association.

    AEDETI spearheaded the Forum’s adoption of HbbTV 2 with the participation of Spanish TV broadcasters and CE manufacturers. This update will apply to the TDT Hibrida ecosystem – based on the Spanish Digital TV Tech Forum specification – and the implementation of HbbTV 2 will be a mandatory requirement to obtain TDT Hibrida certification.

    HbbTV 2 brings new functionality to HbbTV terminals and enables features including enhanced dynamic ad insertion, improved accessibility, seamless cross-device viewing and standardized Ultra HD delivery with HEVC.

    “With this update, Spanish DTT can bring new interactivity and other advanced features to TV sets and companion screens,” said Jose Luis Vázquez, Chair of AEDETI.

    “The adoption of HbbTV 2 marks an important step forward for the Spanish TV market.”

    “We’re excited to see HbbTV 2 being adopted in mature markets as well as new ones,” stated Klaus Illgner, Chair of the HbbTV Association.

    “Spain joins a growing list of countries adopting the new HbbTV standard, including the UK, Italy and the Nordics.”

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    How DOCSIS Revolutionized the Cable Industry

    The cable industry is constantly facing competitive threats from companies like Google and Verizon who up the data speed game with fiber optic cable. They compete by offering higher and higher data speeds at lower and lower prices. But before we get into that, let’s look back at the 20 years of DOCSIS history and how DOCSIS has revolutionized the cable industry.

    20 Years Ago - The Internet Emerges
    The year was 1996. Broadband Library was celebrating its first birthday after rebranding from Literature Library. ARPANET(Advanced Research Projects Agency Network a US DoD United States Department of Defense government agency) was decommissioned in 1990 giving way to the commercialization of the Internet. So there you have it, US DoD government geeks invented the early framework of internet, not anyone else who claims to have done it. During the 1990’s it was estimated that Internet traffic grew by 100% each year[1], but by 1996 only 0.9% of the World’s 6.5 Billion people were using the Internet.[2] Most people were confused by the terms “www” and “.com”. Dial-up modems were common for those of us in the know (geeks by any other name). Even the best dial-up modems were limited to 56 kbps. Yes, that is not a typo, but terms that may be more applicable to modern eyes this would be 0.056 Mbps. Your modem made a lot of noise back then too when hooking up to the internet, beeping, harsh noises, shrieking and other odd tones. As a result you also tied up your phone line(now referred to as a landline) because cell phones were not common yet, dial the digits of your local Internet Service Provider (ISP) such as America Online (AOL) to get on the internet. AOL was a major player in providing internet services to millions of Americans and much respected in 1996 - hence the expression ‘You’ve Got Mail’ came from AOL.

    Consumers then got a second choice over dial-up if they were within reach of a Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer (DSLAM), they could get Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) offered by telecom operators. These speeds were typically 4x or more than that of dial-up modems. Further, DSL modems often could co-exists with subscriber phone lines, meaning the DSL modems could be online for long periods of time without impacting the rest of the family. For example with dial-up if your mom lifted the handset to call someone your Internet connection was lost, along with whatever you were doing. Co-existence was hard for dial-up users. We were banned to basements and late hours to get online.

    DSL meant a new revenue stream for telecom operators too. The Internet was growing rapidly. New services were occurring on the Internet, like Napster (June 1999), which allowed users to download songs on the Internet. Online game playing started to become very popular during the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. At the same time a number of companies and individuals were using Voice-over-IP to communicate on the early Internet. In 1996 the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) came out with its H.323 standard for VoIP[3] and the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) specification RFC 2543 was released in 1999.[4] This does not include the long forgotten companies that used non-standards-based protocols allowing voice-over-IP in the early Internet days, when many of us used headphones repeating over and over again, “Can you hear me now?”. Yes, I repeatedly said these famous words, over and over again until my girlfriend yelled, “Yes! Stop saying that”. Of course, I wasn’t talking to her from the bedroom into the living room. I was talking to my gaming friends online. Verizon, I beat you to it. I also kept saying it. Communication during the multi-player game of Tribes was the key to success.

    While telecom operators were driving users towards DSL and vDSL (vDSL was just very fast DSL), a number of innovative companies realized that the coax cable could be used to deliver faster data than twisted pair phone lines, which was used for DSL.

    Cable Modems Get Standards - Aka DOCSIS
    While the first recorded cable modem trial was performed by MITRE Cablenet in 1979, it was really just a science experiment, but did reach speed of 307.2 kbps.[5] It was not until the mid-1990’s when proprietary cable modem systems from historically famous companies like Lan City, Com21, Zenith homeworks and more created both the cable modem and the cable modem termination system (CMTS). The challenge for cable operators is that if you bought a CMTS from one of these vendors you also were required to purchase all of your modems from them as well. This is because they were proprietary systems (non-standards-based).

    Through a longer story emerged CableLabs and the first Data-over-Cable Interface Specification (DOCSIS), which was released in March of 1997. DOCSIS provided a set of specifications for vendors to design CMTSs and cable modems that would be interoperable. To cable operators and the cable industry this meant we could buy CMTSs from one vendor and modems from another - this resulted in competition, lower costs and innovation.

    Further, the specification enabled up to 37 Mbps net throughput in the downstream and 8 Mbps (net) in the upstream. Cable modems were always on, so dialing up was no longer necessary and the modems did not tie up existing phone lines. The speed was unprecedented and always-on modem capability meant that a user could walk up to their computer and instantly access the Internet. It was amazing!

    DOCSIS and cable modem technology changed everything for the cable industry. Suddenly we went from video only content providers to providers of the Internet too.

    Providing subscribers with access to the Internet in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s must not be trivialized. Stop for a minute and think to yourself, “Where would the cable industry be today were it not for DOCSIS? What if cable networks were not capable of distributing data?”

    While a rhetorical question, it shutters one to think of the consequences. For many cable operators today a significant percentage of their revenue is derived directly from DOCSIS data subscribers. While video was the technology that built the cable industry, data is what drives it. Also, what if we only had to rely on DSL and dial-up. There was no competition to the Telco’s if not for DOCSIS. Innovation would have been slow and so would be your Internet speeds.

    Telco’s really began feeling the squeeze and would advertise that cable wasn’t as good as DSL. They came out with ads which highlighted cable hogs (internet usage / capacity issues) - check out the funny “Cable Hog” video here circa 2000.

    DOCSIS Gets Quality of Service
    Just two years after the DOCSIS 1.0 specification was completed, a new DOCSIS specification was released to add quality of service (QoS) in April 1999. This was the DOCSIS 1.1 specification. DOCSIS 1.1 did not increase upstream or downstream speed, it did improve the baseline privacy interface specification (BPI+), so historically most people forget about how important the DOCSIS 1.1 specification was to our industry. The key advancement in the DOCSIS 1.1 specification was adding the ability to prioritize one type of traffic over another.

    Remember the timing. In the later 1990’s a number of organizations were experimenting with how they could transmit voice traffic over Internet. This was huge. If only cable operators could compete directly against telecom operators in the telephony space this would be something called The Triple Play. Cable operators would be able to sell video, data and voice directly to their subscribers, something never before possible in the history of cable. The DOCSIS 1.1 specification made this possible, along with another CableLabs specification called PacketCable. By prioritizing voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) traffic, DOCSIS 1.1 CMTSs and cable modems pitted cable operators directly against telecom operators in a heated battle. The game was on and has never ceased since.

    So the next time you throw that DOCSIS 1.1 CMTS into the trash, do so with some dignified respect. It earned its place in history. Also, when you see that your cable modems are registered as DOC1.1 cable modems - that’s a good thing. It means they are ready to support the highest level of quality of service that our DOCSIS networks currently provide.



    DOCSIS Get’s a Little Faster and Resilient
    It was not until December 2001 when the next DOCSIS specification was released - nearly two and half years later. This next release packed in a lot of features focused on the upstream. Specifically, the specification increased the maximum upstream transmit speed from 8 Mbps (net) to 27 Mbps (net) - over a 3x increase! Additionally it added a number of enhancements for combating upstream impairments such as ingress cancellation, dynamic interleaving (for impulse noise) and S-CDMA.

    By the early 2000’s there was every increasing pressure by telecom operators and cable operators to provide ever increasing speeds due to concerns of peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing. P2P file sharing was first popularized in 1999 by a company called Napster. Napster was focused on allowing its users to share music files. Ultimately Napster was shut down in July 2001 due to copyright infringement[6], but it is quickly replaced with more secure and distributed services such as Kazaa and the still present BitTorrent.

    Filesharing services and VoIP presented a challenge to all data providers because it is was symmetrical. Downstream and upstream data was nearly the same. The concern for cable operators was that if it became radically popular amongst their subscriber, then their upstream networks would need to support the same bandwidth as their downstream. DOCSIS 2.0 took great lengths to make this possible. It was not enough to just add 64-QAM and a wider bandwidth (6.4 MHz upstream channel) in the upstream, but the specification also needed to add robust features to help cable modems and the CMTS support a 64-QAM, 6.4 MHz upstream channel in the presence to significant impairments that are all too common in nearly every cable operator’s upstream.

    Because of the DOCSIS 2.0 specification, we have some very valuable features in our DOCSIS network that we take advantage of even today. Two features that are almost always forgotten about are ingress cancellation and dynamic interleaving. Ingress cancellation is in the CMTS and can very quickly detect one or multiple interfering narrow channel ingress signals unders the upstream QAM channel and digitally eliminate them. In most CMTSs it is enabled by default, so we often do not notice narrowband interferers under our DOCSIS channels. Dynamic Interleaving is enabled in the CMTS modulation profiles and helps mitigate against bursty noise in the upstream.

    Another very important feature that was improved was pre-equalization in the cable modem. While this was originally added in DOCSIS 1.1, it was not well defined in the 1.1 specification. The DOCSIS 2.0 specification created a 24-tap equalizer, clearly defined the main tap at position eight and this became the baseline for the much of the work now done in proactive network maintenance (PNM).

    Thanks to these features from the DOCSIS 2.0 specification we are able to run 64-QAM in many upstream networks that we previously were not able to run. While P2P file sharing still exists, it never grew into the mass adoption problem that we thought it would become. If only we could say the same about over the top video...

    DOCSIS 3.0 - Video Goes Over the Top
    It took nearly five years before the next DOCSIS specification was released - DOCSIS 3.0 was released in August 2006. This specification addressed two primary issues: 1) massive speed and 2) needed IPv6 addresses.

    Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4) has been around since 1981, but only provides for just under 4.3 Billion IP addresses. That seems like a lot of IP addresses, but as our World population tops 7.4 Billion people and we are quickly getting more devices than people, IPv4 is not holding up. The standard replacing IPv4 is IPv6, which supports 3.4x1038 IP addresses. That is a lot of IP addresses, so many that I can’t even pronounce a number that large… But now DOCSIS 3.0 supports it.

    IPv6 is not the big bang in DOCSIS 3.0. It’s channel bonding. Channel bonding allows the CMTS and cable modems to combine more than one QAM channel into a logical group for sending and receiving data. The benefit is that a DOCSIS 3.0 CMTS and cable modem can, at a minimum, transmit four times the data of a DOCSIS 2.0 CMTS. More advanced modems enable 16, 24 or even 32 channels to be bonded in the downstream. It is common for cable operators to run 16 or 24 bonded channels in the downstream with 3, 4 or even 8 bonded channels in the upstream.

    The fears of P2P file sharing returned with a vengeance in the form of over-the-top (OTT) video. OTT video has driven substantial subscriber data traffic demand, growing 50% per year on average. Subscribers are asking for higher and higher speed tiers (25 Mbps and higher) and subscribers are using more traffic during peak hours especially due to binge watching of OTT video from services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.

    Further, by 2010 there was every increasing pressure on telecom operators and cable operators to provide ever increasing speeds. This was due primarily to OTT video, FaceBook, YouTube and more and more regular people using the Internet. The internet had crossed over from just being something early adopters, geeks and college students used, to something everyday people were using. The Internet had now become integrated into society. Using the Internet had become just as ordinary as watching TV, in fact for many the Internet had replaced TV. DOCSIS 3.0 came just in time to help cable operators keep up and stay competitive.

    Fiber Rich vs. Coax
    On December 12, 2012 Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt stated "It's actually not an experiment, we're actually running it as a business," [7] when talking about the first Google Fiber deployment in Kansas City. As of Oct 2015, Google FIber has an estimated 120,000 customers with deployments in process in eight major cities. [8][9] Google Fiber's plan - provide 1 Gbps Internet for $70/month.

    AT&T Uverse responds in select cities with GigaPower 300 and GigaPower 1G (300 Mbps and 1Gbps, respectively). Similarly, Verizon responds with fiber-to-the-home offering 1 Gbps service in select markets. At great expense the motto becomes “fight fiber with fiber”.

    Released in October 2013 is the DOCSIS 3.1 specification offering up to 10 Gbps down and 1 Gbps up. DOCSIS 3.1 provides a competitive response to fiber, were plowing fiber to the home, thru a neighborhood, down a busy street is not realistic or a cost effective solution. Further it greatly extends the life of the existing hybrid fiber coax (HFC) plant where more data capacity is needed, but RF bandwidth is limited.

    Again, DOCSIS in the face of competition and demand has breathed new life into the cable industry. Today cable operators have the luxury of choosing between deploying fiber or DOCSIS 3.0/3.1 as appropriate and possible for the market they are in. It is not an either or proposition because we are properly positioned and have the developed the internal expertise to compete on a level playing field with telecom operators, Google or Alphabet.

    DOCSIS has not only kept us in the game, but helped us develop the skills necessary to compete in today’s modern data-centric world. “Where would the cable industry be today were it not for DOCSIS?”


 

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