Dominating the political agenda on both sides of the Atlantic, the debate about Net Neutrality is far from resolved.

WWW

But have we lost sight of what this issue is really about?

Speaking at the ANGA COM congress in Köln, Mike Fries, President and CEO of Liberty Global, was asked for his viewpoint on the Net Neutrality debate. His response was immediate and unequivocal. “In my thirty years in the industry, I have never encountered a topic that is less well understood, that is so misinterpreted, misused, and I might even say abused, by different people in the ecosystem of the debate than this.”
With his global perspective, Fries’ frustration is understandable given the timing of his words in the early summer of 2014. The FCC’s examination of the Net Neutrality issue had pitched US commentators, lobbyists and PR machinery at levels of near hysteria. Not many issues of technical legislative detail have US citizens demonstrating in the streets of Washington DC and command headline slots on primetime satirical TV shows.
The Net Neutrality debate in Europe has thus far been conducted in calmer tones, but there’s no doubt that there’s just as much to play for. Fries’ concern that the issue is too important to be hijacked is true on both sides of the Atlantic.

Freedom to grow

When the internet was created 25 years ago, one of the core principles set out by its founders was that there should be a level playing field for those using the internet, irrespective of size and provenance. That principle has been one of the cornerstones of its phenomenal success. The other has been freedom from prescriptive regulatory measures which could have stifled investment, innovation and growth.
Yet the internet of today is a very different place from that of 1989 and the desire to intervene and regulate is perhaps inevitable. The exponential growth of traffic could hardly have been predicted by those early web visionaries. Networks have become increasingly congested, not just by sheer volume but by the variety of types of applications and services with very different needs such as HD video. An open internet remains at the heart of what is being defended; a fair and transparent way to manage the ecosystem to allow the widest variety of services not only to co-exist but to thrive and grow is now the political football.

Access all areas

Fries sees a simple split between two different issues which are being confused. On the one hand, it’s about consumers and the need to ensure that any consumer can go anywhere they want to go on the internet. This, he said at ANGA COM, is a given – and not just for moral or societal motivations. “As a network operator I have no interest in upsetting consumers. And I have no interest Dominating the political agenda on both sides of the Atlantic, the debate about Net Neutrality is far from resolved. But have we lost sight of what this issue is really about?

in upsetting content providers. What good does it do me? I lose on both sides.” On the other hand is the issue between corporations, the question of who pays for building and maintaining the internet highway, and how to manage the volume and complexity of traffic to deliver the best quality service to end users, which Fries maintains is what this debate is really about.

A B2B debate

The task in hand for the European Institutions, looking at this issue as part of the “Connected Continent” regulation, is an unenviable one. The heat and noise surrounding Net Neutrality in the US, coinciding with the European elections, has had an inevitable ripple effect. Yet the ingredients in the debate in Europe are not an exact mirror of the US situation. There is of course the need for harmonisation, and where European Member States have initiated their own regulatory initiatives then a levelling of some kind is not only desirable but necessary. Yet backstop powers already exist for National Regulatory Authorities to intervene against service providers when necessary. So any threat of commercial abuse is already taken care of with existing and specific regulation.
The European Institutions need to achieve a considerable feat – that of creating a regulatory infrastructure which is future proof enough to allow continued innovation and investment whilst negating the desire of individual Member States to take standalone action. And all in a context where regulatory powers already exist.

Managing the traffic

At the heart of this lies the unequivocal need for ISPs to apply effective management tools to their networks to ensure quality of service, and the corresponding requirement for them to do so in a transparent, fair and non-discriminatory way. Finding the regulatory balance to enshrine these principles whilst allowing the web to thrive looks set to dominate the agenda for many months to come.
The proposals made by Mrs Kroes in September 2013 are striking the right balance and Cable Europe supports the Commission’s solution. The Parliament and Council should not jeopardise a proportionate outcome, which will keep a thriving internet ecosystem intact.

 

Cable Congress, 11-13 March 2015, The Square, Brussels

The Call for Papers ends on 10th October

You have time until Friday, 10th October to submit your paper. If you would like to share your experience on the latest trends and developments in the industry, then please do get in touch.

Visit here to submit your entry and for more information.

Papers that are not included on the programme due to space limitations can still be selected for the Cable Congress e-Book.

About Cable Congress

Cable Congress is recognised as the leading event dedicated to the cable and media industries in Europe. In 2014, the congress attracted over 850 participants from over 33 countries of which more than 75% were Director or C-level executives.

The high quality of attendees reflected a broad cross section of the industry, with 18% of delegates representing cable operators and service providers, 36% equipment and set top box vendors, 12% content providers. Visit here for the full attendee breakdown.

Sponsorship Opportunities

With a largely C-suite level audience, being seen at Cable Congress is essential for any major player in the global cable industry. If you’re interested in sponsorship or exhibition opportunities, please contact Rhis.Edwards@cablecongress.com.

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Cable Europe’s Cable Congress, the much anticipated annual industry gathering, returns to Brussels on 11th – 13th March 2015.

The research and production process for the Cable Congress conference programme is now underway, giving you the opportunity to bring the industry’s hottest topics to life at the event.

Call for Papers Now Open

We are now taking submissions. If you would like to share your valuable experience on the latest trends and developments in the industry, then please do get in touch. Send the title and a short synopsis of your paper by filling in the form, and provide your thoughts on the programme.

The deadline for entry is 30th September and all submissions will be reviewed by experts in each area to ensure that the line-up for next year is the most comprehensive and compelling to date.

Papers that are not included on the programme due to space limitations can still be selected for the Cable Congress e-Book.

About Cable Congress

Cable Congress is recognised as the leading event dedicated to the cable and media industries in Europe. In 2014, the congress attracted over 850 participants from over 33 countries of which more than 75% were Director or C-level executives.

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Dear  All

Following the success of Cable Congress 2014 which attracted over 850 senior-ranking delegates from 33 countries representing the cable, content, technology and new media industries, we are delighted to announce that the sponsorship opportunities 2014 are now officially open.

Be Where Business Happens

Featuring world-class brands and companies in entertainment, technology, applications and telecommunications, the exhibit floor at Cable Congress is a real-time reflection of the cable broadband economy.

Are you looking to showcase your latest cable technology in front of the most influential industry gathering of the year? If the answer is yes then visibility at the congress is an absolute must. See who sponsored last year.

The Exhibition at Cable Congress will feature the latest cable technology, and showcase the leading content players.

If you have products or solutions to help our delegates overcome their current challenges then you need to be there. The event is designed to offer you excellent business development and lead generation opportunities.

Photos for spex email 1

Contact Christopher, for sponsorship information today – email christopher.wells@cablecongress.com or call +44 (0) 207 017 6446 / +44 (0) 782789 3124.

About Cable Congress

Cable Congress is recognised as the leading event dedicated to the cable and media industries in Europe. The conference attracts top industry executives year on year.

The high quality of attendees reflected a broad cross section of the industry, with 18% of delegates representing cable operators and service providers, 36% equipment and set top box vendors, 12% content providers. See who attends here.

With a largely CxO and Director level audience, being seen at Cable Congress is essential for any major player in the global cable industry. Please get in touch for more information.

11th – 13th March 2015, The Square, Brussels – Mark your calendars

We look very forward to hearing back from you.

Christopher Wells
Commercial Manager – Cable Congress 2015

E: christopher.wells@cablecongress.com
W: www.cablecongress.com
T: +44 (0) 207 017 6446
M: +44 (0) 782789 3124

(Amsterdam, 14 March) Cable Europe’s Cable Congress 2014, the flagship gathering of the European cable industry, today concluded three days of dynamic discussions on the flourishing future of cable amid a changing competitive landscape. Cable’s infrastructure was widely acknowledged to be the industry’s most important asset – key to helping cable move into new growth areas, satisfy customer demand for bandwidth-consuming entertainment and communications services, enable new and innovative product platforms such as over-the-top, and drive further consolidation, including convergence with mobile.

According to the industry’s leading technologists, cable’s pipe – with almost 1 GHz of capacity and a long and useful evolution path – is barely out of grade school from a high-speed data perspective. With CableLabs DOCSIS 3.1 deployment on track and set to support 10 Gbps downstream and up to 1 Gbps upstream, there is a lot more life in cable’s networks. “DOCSIS 3.1 was created with high capacity goals in mind to satisfy subscriber bandwidth demands deep into 2020 decade,” according to Ayham Al-Banna, Systems Architect at ARRIS.

Driving higher capacity and faster speeds in cable’s existing infrastructure is important over the long term as customer demand for over-the-top content, new applications and digital services skyrockets, but Guy Bisson of IHS believes cable is well positioned vis-à-vis its competitors. “Because of the enormous potential of DOCSIS 3.1, cable will continue to beat telco competitors on speed at a similar price point,” Bisson said. “The next network challenge will be over-the-top. In five years from now, 20% (or one hour) of the average person’s total daily TV consumption will be non-linear.”

As Cable Congress 2014 draws to a close, industry players expressed confidence in their ability to deliver on cable’s promise of faster speeds, higher-quality content and services and greater competition. Keeping up the happy marriage between cable and content, through deeper partnerships, multi-screen access, and advances in user-friendly functionality, will continue to be a key strategic focus in the years ahead.

Cable Europe’s Executive Chairman Matthias Kurth commented: “We’ve heard this week that infrastructure matters, and that cable needs to leverage its investments to drive growth in new areas as we increasingly move to converged services. At the same time, regulators need to ensure the industry can continue to consolidate so that cable’s investments and innovations can reach consumers on a larger scale.”

Cable Europe’s Cable Congress will be back in 2015, taking place in Brussels on 11-13 March.

Infrastructure Driving Growth and Deals Positions cable operators to move beyond triple play, pursue cable-mobile convergence

(Amsterdam, 13 March) Strong growth in the cable industry will continue in 2014 and beyond, participants at Day 2 of Cable Europe’s 2014 Cable Congress heard this morning. Cable customers have overwhelmingly embraced digital TV services, with over half of European customers now having made the switch, but significant opportunities remain in Eastern Europe and for providers to move beyond successful triple play packages to offer new services.

“There is a bar of gold sitting on the mantelpiece if you are investing in Central European cable,” according to Guy Bisson, Research Director Television at IHS, pointing out that conversion to digital in Central Europe has only just passed 25%. “Revenue-wise TV is key,” he added, “because it boosts the value of the customer and moves them into the triple play.”

Across Europe, IHS research shows that video-on-demand services grew by almost 20% in 2013, demonstrating the take up of new services. According to Bisson, the challenge for cable now is to move from “pure breed to hybrid,” building on the success of triple play to include mobile, over-the-top, home networks and Wi-Fi roaming. “Infrastructure matters,” says Bisson, giving cable a significant advantage in the future delivery of communications and entertainment services.

Cable’s superior infrastructure is also a key driver of consolidation in the industry, with an increasing number of deals in Western Europe in recent years. Bisson points out that deals in Western Europe have been valued at up to €3,000 per home, compared to around €1,000 per home in Central and Eastern Europe.

Clif Marriot, Managing Director of Goldman Sachs, believes “we’re making our way in Europe towards concluding the first wave of consolidation, which is creating one cable operator in each regional market. Cable-mobile convergence is next.” With respect to deals in the content space, the panel suggested that partnerships rather than M&A would remain the primary focus for operators.

For the latest news on Cable Congress 2014, please visit http://www.cablecongress.com, talk to us on Twitter via @CableEurope, and follow all of the discussion live using #cablecongress.

Ziggo and ComHem’s Emma Svalin Sahlman Win Cable Europe Innovation Awards at Cable Congress

ONO receives special mention for sustainability project

(Amsterdam, 13 March) Cable Europe, the trade association representing the European cable industry, today awarded Ziggo and ComHem’s Emma Svalin Sahlman with awards for innovation and individual achievement, respectively. Caroline Van Weede, Managing Director of Cable Europe, and Peter Percosan, Partner, Digital Strategy, presented the honours on the second day of Cable Congress, taking place this week in Amsterdam.

Ziggo won the Cable Europe Innovation Award, voted on by delegates at Cable Congress, for its Interactive Digital Cable with no STB offer. Last year Ziggo became the first operator in the world to deliver VOD and catch-up TV services to CI Plus 1.3 devices, eliminating the need for a set-top box and allowing consumers to realize the Bring Your Own Device promise.

The Innovation Award recognizes a special project that stands out in helping cable innovate and stay ahead of the customer. Other strong nominees in the category included Telenet’s SmartAid project, an innovation that leverages all existing administrative and technical information to provide a holistic troubleshooting experience across its service organizations; and GET’s basic tier package, the world’s freest and largest TV offer of its kind.

Emma Svalin Sahlman, Head of Product TV at ComHem, was honoured with the Cable Europe Fellow Award in recognition of her work in bringing TiVo to life at Sweden’s biggest cable company. In accepting the honour, she commented: “Integrating TiVo and building a completely new platform in 18 months doesn’t only require a strong leader but a great team, great management and suppliers supporting us. Now we have the strongest product on the Swedish market.”

Spanish cable operator ONO received a special mention for introducing an innovative management model and online tools especially designed to reduce power consumption and support eco-friendly attitudes and procedures within the company. Van Weede commented: “This is a special project that clearly demonstrates that the cable industry is also innovating to have a sustainable impact on the future.”
awards 2014 photos

For the latest news on Cable Congress, please visit http://www.cablecongress.com, talk to us on Twitter via @CableEurope, and follow all of the discussion live using #cablecongress.

(Amsterdam, 12 March) Executives from across the cable industry called for deeper partnerships with content players, continued collaboration on technology standards and greater convergence of products and services on Day 1 of Cable Europe’s 2014 Cable Congress. With consolidation of the still fragmented cable marketplace ongoing, they also advocated for “de-stressing” the regulatory environment to better stimulate Europe’s digital economy.

“Marriage with content is our future,” according to Michael Fries, CEO of Liberty Global, citing the vast majority of consumers migrating to a digital experience and demanding more and more content on multiple screens and on-demand. “We’re in the business of connectivity first and foremost – that includes connecting people to great content and providing functionality to enhance the viewing experience.”

Content players echoed the need for continued collaboration, highlighting how cable’s delivery of breakthrough advances in digital technology – interactive user-interfaces and channel guides, VOD and DVR – has profoundly changed the way content is both consumed and created. “The convergence of these technological developments has changed the viewer mindset, putting you in control to watch on your own schedule and absorb more from what you see,” said keynote speaker and AMC Networks President & CEO Josh Sapan. “This combination has also given birth to a new brand of scripted drama, influencing what is written, produced and directed, and changing the pace and style of the dramatic world. Good stories and new technology are the foundation for the success of TV.”

Cable is expected to continue to play a crucial role in this ongoing content shift as network capacity, bundling and service convergence increases. According to Manuel Cubero, COO of Kabel Deutschland, operators need to focus on bundling high-value services and maintaining quality networks, but continued innovation and investment is key. “The moment you think you’re good then you’ve lost; being top-notch is a continuous fight.”

Cable Congress 2014 will continue tomorrow and Friday. To keep up with the conversation, please visit www.cablecongress.com, talk to us on Twitter via @CableEurope, and follow all of the discussion live using #cablecongress.

Industry adds more than €1 billion in revenues at YE2013 on the back of strong uptick in high-speed broadband and telephony subscribers and continued switch to digital services

(Amsterdam, 12 March) Cable investments in high-speed broadband connections and new service platforms drove top-line revenues across Europe up 5.9% to €21.9bn in 2013, according to new IHS statistics released by Cable Europe, the industry’s trade association, at Cable Congress 2014 in Amsterdam. The more than €1bn increase in annual revenues benefited from 9.1% growth in broadband revenues, 6.5% growth in telephony revenues and a greater share of TV revenues now digital (more than 70%) than ever before.

Cable Europe President Manuel Kohnstamm commented: “The past year has seen significant transformation and change in our industry, and all of us feel good about cable’s ability to grow through those cycles. As our customers increasingly go digital, over-the-top and outside the home, cable is positioned as the future of entertainment”.

The cable sector has received positive attention lately with the announcement of acquisitions and IPOs. The consolidation of the sector is a necessary step for fuelling cable companies’ competitive moves in a very dynamic environment. Demanding consumers, new technologies, very aggressive telecom operators and agile OTTs are constantly reinventing the market.

“Cable is a shining star at a time when Europe’s leaders are calling for more investment in digital infrastructure to connect our continent,” said Cable Europe Executive Chairman Matthias Kurth.“We continue to attract European consumers with a truly unparalleled connectivity platform. While digital TV subscribers now make up the majority of TV subscriptions in Europe, converting the remaining 25.9 million analogue customers is one of cable’s many long-term runways to growth.”

For the latest news on Cable Congress 2014, please visit www.cablecongress.com, talk to us on Twitter via @CableEurope, and follow all of the discussion live using #cablecongress.

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2014 Event to Highlight European Cable Sector’s Flourishing Future on its High Train to Growth

(Brussels, 10 March) Cable Europe’s Cable Congress, the much anticipated annual industry gathering taking place from 12-14 March in Amsterdam, is shaping up as just the ticket for those steeped in the converging worlds of entertainment and technology. An all-star line-up of leaders from across cable, content, tech and new media will be on hand to discuss the latest trends and developments in the industry, as well as their strategies to compete and grow in the years to come.

The flagship conference will kick off with the release of brand new 2013 year-end pan-European cable industry data supplied by IHS. Highlights are expected to include continued growth in new customers as well as a powerful top-line increase in total cable revenues.  Europe’s cable industry now serves more than 109 million Revenue Generating Units (RGUs), an industry metric measuring the number of services – TV, internet and telephony – delivered to customers. More statistics on growth in these three product areas, as well as in digital services like Video on Demand, will be unveiled on Day 1.

“There’s no blowing smoke about what the cable industry is delivering to European consumers,” according to Cable Europe’s Executive Chairman Matthias Kurth. “Tunnel vision, when focused on the customer, is a game changer that cable is exploiting. Last year saw cable operators upgrading commercially available broadband speeds to 200 Mbps and even 500 Mbps in European markets. At this year’s Cable Congress we’ll hear more about how the industry is leveraging the power of these networks, in combination with new services and the inclusion of over the top and premier content, to deliver the absolute best value to its customers. This year is a can’t miss for those interested in the future of cable in Europe.”

In addition to the release of new industry data, the 2014 Cable Congress programme is packed with engaging sessions and high-profile executive appearances, including:

  • Keynote speech by visionary President & CEO of AMC Networks, Josh Sapan
  • C-Suite panel hosted by CNN’s Nina Dos Santos, featuring Michael Fries, Liberty Global, Manuel Cubero, Kabel Deutschland, Carsten Dilling, TDC and Bert Habets, RTL Nederland
  • A fireside chat with René Obermann, Ziggo
  • Cable’s technology wheel of fortune with Paul Hendriks, Ziggo, Balan Nair, Liberty Global, and Lorenz Glatz, Kabel Deutschland, hosted by Babita Sharma, BBC News
  • The third annual Cable Europe Awards, honouring contributions from individuals and companies helping to move the European cable industry forward
  • Unparalleled networking opportunities, with 69% of attendees at C-level, Director and Board Level

For the latest news on Cable Congress 2014, please visit www.cablecongress.com, talk to us on Twitter via @CableEurope, and follow all of the discussion live using #cablecongress.

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