10/28 12:30 PM: Welcome to Denver, where the snow is piling up to the point where locals are having a tough time attending SCTE Cable-Tec without the aid of sled dogs. I'm opening up the reporter's notebook again this week, so check back for updates.
The title of this morning's Technology Leadership Roundtable was "Enough Already!" "Enough of what?" you ask. Answers the roundtable description: "Growing a little weary of all that FiOS in your face?" The short answer, not surprisingly, is yes. Roundtable moderator Leslie Ellis (Ellis Edits LLC) opened the discussion by asking whether the cable-TV community should be defensive about the fact that it hasn't fully embraced FTTH -- particularly since the industry invented video over fiber and carries more video over fiber than anyone else.
Much pooh-poohing of FTTH and telcos ensued. Paul Liao, president and CEO of CableLabs, said that the MSOs are the big dogs when it comes to video and becoming big dogs in voice delivery -- and when you're a big dog, you're going to attract competitive attention.
Dermot O'Carroll, SVP, engineering and network operations, at Rogers Cable Communications up in Canada, asserted that fiber "doesn't do much" for voice or video (I assume he meant fiber access versus HFC) and perhaps only a little bit when it comes to Internet access. This last shortfall should go away with deployment of DOCSIS 3.0, he said.
Liao agreed that DOCSIS 3.0-enabled HFC should prove more than adequate for customer needs today and into the future, adding that DOCSIS 3.0 should enable more bandwidth than anyone will ever need. (This sounds like one of those "eat your words in 10 years or less" statements, but Liao is certainly smarter than I am and more versed in DOCSIS 3.0 capabilities.)
Meanwhile, at least two workshops later in the week will discuss how to migrate HFC networks to FTTH. It doesn't hurt to hedge your bets, apparently. Getting a better understanding of how MSOs really feel about FTTH is one of my goals here.
Other nuggets from the roundtable: Migration to IPv6 will be a bear, particularly since you'll still need to support IPv4 for a while and hopefully find a way for customers with older IPv4-only devices to access new IPv6-enabled services. IP in general (including, of course, IPTV) will be the key to enabling "anything to any device" services. And as cablecos offer such services, they'll have to shift their focus from marketing to households to marketing to individuals.
7:15 PM: Back here at the hotel after exhibits closed. The show floor was significantly busier than last week's Supercomm event. Opinions in the exhibit hall regarding how much of a market for FTTH MSOs represent were all over the map. (This will either be a standalone story or I'll run through them Friday once I talk to more people.) Meanwhile...Stefan Murry, VP, global sales and marketing, at Applied Optoelectronics reports a trend away from transceiver-based ONT designs for GPON toward designs based on discrete components. There's not enough volume in GPON to generate savings from mass deployment, so ONT designers are coming up with proprietary designs to extract costs.
Hitachi is showing off three new ONUs for the company's DOCSIS PON offering, which carries the Salira label. (See the video interview from the recent FTTH Conference entitled "DOCSIS-based FTTH Options" for the company's take on the market.) The ONUs and the rest of the DePON gear leverages "multi-wavelength" (four of them, to be precise), which company sources have repeatedly emphasized isn't the same as WDM-PON. The company also has an SFP-based ONU (developed by Broadway) for enterprise applications...Motorola fresh off of announcing a customer for its RFoG gear (see -- someone is buying this stuff!) and expansion of its CablePON and fiber deep portfolios, also displayed an EPON ONU from Alloptic, with whom the company has a relationship. Moto's Floyd Wagoner suggested that MSOs are starting to show a preference for EPON over the GPON Motorola currently offers, and the company wants to be part of those conversations -- although a companion EPON blade for Motorola's OLT doesn't yet have a firm place on the company's product roadmap...Aurora Networks also announced expansion of a product line that already spans HFC, fiber deep, RFoG, and RFPON (the last an RFoG/EPON hybrid; see "RFoG plus PON – Enabling cable’s ‘all-IP’ future?"). VP of Marketing John Dahlquist says Aurora has more than 50 customers using fiber deep gear at about 30 using RFoG, with significant overlap among those two customer lists.
Finally, Corning Cable Systems showed off new All-Fiber Access Network segmented-split OSP gear designed to mimic their HFC counterparts. The complete offering includs the FlexNAP technology Corning is already offering to telcos for FTTH.