Interview with Leandro Boschelle, Director of Strategy and Business Development at Cablecom, an affiliate of UPC and owned by Liberty Global

What developments have you witnessed in the IP cable industry in the past 12 months?

Clearly I see two major developments: an increased proliferation in the number of video-capable devices in general, all connected wirelessly and highly used within the home environment; and TV sets gaining more IP capabilities and accordingly more integrated applications. 

By integration I mean primarily the ability to turn the TV into a display of all types of video content, ranging from traditional linear TV to Web-originated video streams and applications.

What impact is the move to IP cable having on your business?

The impact is an increased focus from the product development teams on converged services. Convergence in the sense of consuming content and applications everywhere and seamlessly across devices, from TV to iPads, iPhones and other more.

Does the move to IP cable place an operator on an equal technological footing as, for example, an IPTV rival?

I would go so far as to say that we are about to leapfrog our IPTV competition. The investments most cable operators are making in upgrading networks to DOCSIS 3.0 will provide them with a competitive advantage over the next five years. Cable is best placed to offer customers the necessary network capacity to use converged services in conjunction with HD video quality ubiquitously in the footprint. Here in Switzerland, our broadband connections start where DSL ends in terms of speed. Fibre-to-the Home penetration is still too low to be commercially significant for our rivals.

Is the business case for migration to IP cable watertight?

IP is the de facto standard for all types of communication networks today. We as part of Liberty Group have been preparing for this for years. For any network-based service provider, the IP paradigm is a must. The business case is simply “to be or not be”. You have to be prepared for it or you will be out of business.

What new business models have arisen with the growth of IP cable?

Video-on-demand services have already led to more transactional revenues. The integration of Web applications as well as the use of multiple devices will further drive transactional as well as optional subscription elements in the revenue streams.

How will multi-screen viewing take-up affect the migration to IP cable?

Most cable networks have already migrated their backbone and applications to IP in the past few years, as they were anticipating these trends. The development of gateway technologies like Liberty Global’s next-generation platform Horizon in combination with cloud computing are the final pieces in the puzzle to serve these types of applications.

No doubt, the number of iPads and iPhones in the home and the desire to use these as a control device for all types of services including TV will accelerate the adoption of IP cable and gateways.

Conducted by the IP&TV News Team

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