Technicolor Execs Discuss Ultra-Broadband, DOCSIS 3.1 Adoption Trends

Demand is heating up for a wide array of content services in emerging economies around the world. This is driving network service providers (NSPs) to offer customers a next-generation services — such as smart home, over-the-top (OTT) and immersive experiences like 4K/UHD — that has elevated the business case to deploy ultra-broadband and gigabit strategies.

In a Q&A provided by Technicolor, Roberto Salermo, SVP of Americas and CPE sales, and Georges Laplanche, SVP of sales Eurasia for global CPE with Technicolor Connected Home, discuss the state of DOCSIS 3.1 in emerging economies.

Q: Georges, let me start with you. Eurasia represents new opportunities for network service providers. How are you seeing DOCSIS 3.1 and fiber optic access technologies evolving in your region?

Laplanche: We are in the golden age of content. Everywhere in the world, people want to see their best video, movies, series, games, whatever, anywhere — particularly in the sanctuary of their homes. Regardless of where you are, you need to give fast secured internet to the home. There are multiple ways to do that. But fundamentally, there are two ultra-broadband technologies. In the cable world, DOCSIS 3.1, is the latest generation into the home. For telcos, fiber remains their best gigabit infrastructure investment, even as they make investments in the copper network via very high-speed digital subscriber line (VDSL) technologies.

Salermo: This dovetails perfectly with what’s happening in the Americas. My customers are telling me that their customers need four things: shelter, food, air and the internet. We’re in an always on, always-connected society. People are sharing videos; Netflix and YouTube have revolutionized the way we watch and consume video in homes and on our personal devices.

So every day, we see an increasing consumer demand for broadband which is creating requirements from our NSP customers to continue to build out their networks and provide that streaming experience to their customers. That is both a challenge and opportunity across the industry.

You have telcos that trying to squeeze as much out as much as they can from their legacy networks, even as they elevate their investment in fiber technologies. And cable operators in many cases have now woken up to the opportunities of broadband via DOCSIS 3.1.

Q: So Georges, Eurasia is a complex, large market made up of very developed environments and emerging economies as well. What are the challenges and opportunities, particularly in those emerging economies that need to be overcome for DOCSIS and fiber to really come into their own and those environments?

Laplanche: Cable operators have a fantastic asset in the coaxial cable coming to every home. So we use the DOCSIS 3.1 technology catching on very quickly in the region. Of course, taking advantage of this trend requires investment at the cable modem termination system (CMTS) different parts of the network including the CPE. But it is an investment that is paying off because this medium is one of the best assets for providing broadband services to homes in emerging markets. In fact, emerging markets in many cases have an opportunity to leapfrog directly to the most advanced technologies.

Q: How specifically are NSPs exploiting that opportunity to get deeper into the broadband game?

Salermo: For many years in the Americas you had the telcos who were the dominant players in a lot of these countries. And as these markets matured, the regulatory situation became clear for the governments. In order to motivate more investments in infrastructure technology to provide better services to their customers, they started opening up opportunities for more competition, on both the broadband side and the video side of the equation. So it’s an interesting time to live right now in not only in Latin America, but also in North America.

Q: Roberto, what are we seeing as some specific examples in the Americas that illustrate this forward movement that you’ve described?

Salermo: I think we could use Telecom Argentina as a good example. This is a very forward-looking customer. Argentina’s always been traditionally forward looking when it comes to video services. But now we’re seeing them take a leap forward on the broadband side as they continue to future proof their homes and provide more value-added services. They decided to fully deploy DOCSIS 3.1 this year.

Q: What about Asia, Georges? What are some recent announcements there that you’re excited about?

Laplanche: I could give you exactly similar example to Roberto’s, including Turkey, which is making many innovative investments to serve its subscribers. Of course, there are also many interesting developments that are taking place in Africa now as well. We see fiber deployments across the board. We see demand for ultra-broadband everywhere. We see demand for DOCSIS 3.1 on traditional cable networks all across the Balkans for instance, where DOCSIS 3.1 now is currently booming as a technology providing ultra-broadband. It’s absolutely the same in every emerging market.

Q: Georges, how are you working with NSP to engage Technicolor’s technology and consulting services and expertise to advance as rapidly as possible the capacity for broadband in those markets?

Laplanche: As both Roberto and I said, there are no more technology gaps between emerging and developed economies. So, at Technicolor, we’re bringing to all of our customers the same teams of experts, architects, product managers, pre-sale engineers to help [them] throughout our regions find the best solutions for the type of subscribers and the type of service they need to offer. It is very similar to the approach we take in serving the most advanced countries in Europe and North America.

Q: Roberto, do you have anything to add to that from your perspective as you evaluate opportunities to work with network service providers in North and South America?

Salermo: While we’re talking about how NSPs are deploying access technologies — whether it’s fiber or DOCSIS 3.1 — we are also seeing that the conversation in emerging markets is similar to those in developed environments in that we always end up talking about the importance of Wi-Fi in the home.