Posts tagged ‘Net Neutrality’

Meet the speaker: Nick Fielibert, Cisco Systems #CableCongress @CSCO_PR

Nick Fielibert CTO SP Video Cisco Systems Ltd

Nick Fielibert
CTO SP Video
Cisco Systems Ltd

Nick Fielibert CTO SP Video at Cisco Systems speaks to us about technology differentiation,  virtualization and Net Neutrality.

As chief technical officer for SP video in the EMEAR for Cisco, Nick Fielibert is responsible for developing and directing the technical roadmap and the systems architectures for Cisco’s video solutions to service providers in the region.

See Nick Fielbert at Cable Congress 2015, 11-13 March, The SQUARE, Brussels – Register online now.

Q. How is cable using technology to differentiate itself in the marketplace?

Cable operators leveraging DOCSIS 3.0 are the only Service Providers able to provide broadband speeds above 100 Mbps today and even 1 Gbps over 100% of their access networks serving millions of subscribers in Europe. Cable is also the only network that can still leverage very cost effective pure Broadcast with Unicast for personalized and advanced video services. In particular, DOCSIS 3 evolving to DOCSIS 3.1 now makes migration to Unicast video over IP economical, reducing OpEx and CapEx for such new advanced video services.

The adoption of cloud technology is also particularly important for reducing OpEx and time to market associated with new services. When applications are created for the cloud (on- or off-premise), feature development time is greatly reduced and the risk of long lasting error situations is mitigated: new applications and bug-fixes can immediately be propagated to millions of Home Devices. Last but not least we see some Cable operators leveraging the success of selling triple-play services over their plant to upsell mobile and B2B services.

Q. From a technology standpoint, what do you think cable’s priorities are for 2015 and beyond?

We are seeing Cable further investing in keeping the lead on broadband speeds, but also aiming to create the service velocity for TV services similar to OTT (Netflix etc.). We believe they should also prepare the access network for introduction of DOCSIS 3.1 during 2015, with rollout of DOCSIS 3.1 during 2016 and beyond.

Q. What innovative projects is Cisco working on now, for example on cable technology virtualization?

We believe virtualization will help cable in various aspects, both on the access and network side, as well as on the video services side. There is a path for virtualization of CCAP, by building as a foundation a distributed cable access architecture based on Remote PHY. With the move to Remote PHY, cable operators can have distributed PHY elements (chassis or nodes) that connect the access network and are controlled by CCAP Core elements. The CCAP Core elements can run as virtualized software entities in a Data Center. We are also making strong investments on bringing SDN capabilities to our CCAP platforms. We believe that Remote PHY, SDN and NFV are among the top disrupting architecture transitions that the Cable industry will face on the coming years.

For video services, virtualization will make the development of services more scalable and reduce OpEx. For example, adding new channels that can be delivered to any device should be not more than using a simple orchestration console, which launches VMs to create a complete workflow to create streams in any format, servicing any type of device. Increased use of virtualised software-based encoding will also greatly simplify the introduction of new codec technologies such as HEVC, or starting services in 4K resolution. The same principles will also apply to adding subscribers to a system, creating additional business rules and product offers. Cable operators have also understood that User Experience is a key competitive element and business driver for growth. UX is one of the key offerings we have and we continue to invest to make the deployment of the best possible User Experience on all possible screens easier going forward. Last but not least, we keep investing in keeping content secure, so Cable will be able to get the best deals with their content providers

Q. Tell us more about how you work with cable operators and the rest of the cable tech community.

We have a permanent dialog with cable operators and the rest of the cable tech community to make sure that we develop products and solutions that fulfil their business needs. As part of that effort, Cisco is an active contributor to CableLabs and to European cable community entities like the Cable Congress, listening and sharing our thoughts about how the cable technology and business will evolve.

Q. What is Cisco’s take on Net Neutrality and where do you think policymakers need to net out to ensure continued investment in broadband build out?

In general in we think Net Neutrality is a good thing and are supportive of this, but we also believe differentiated services should be possible and that a Service Provider should be allowed to manage traffic on the network to enhance certain services. This will enable better service to be offered to subscribers, and potentially lead to higher revenues. If done well and sensitively, there is no reason that this should be at the expense of general internet access.

Q. Cable is a technology leader, but is there an area where cable must be better and what will it take to do so?

Indeed Cable is often in the forefront of technical innovation. However, we feel there are some areas were faster evolution/development may be required:

  • Accelerate its integration with mobile and B2B offers.
  • Accelerate the transition into video solutions that are fully IP-based, as these solutions allow cable operators to provide seamlessly the same services across HFC or FTTH.
  • Embrace new client SW and Cloud technologies that allow for faster and cheaper introduction of new services. The current development cycle of deploying new Hardware (new STBs) in the field takes too long. There is a risk Cable will start lagging in services innovation against Telco and new OTT competitors.

Net Neutrality: have we lost sight of what this issue is really about? #cablecongress

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?

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

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