NEW YORK -- Future of Cable Business Services -- Shrinking prices, expanding services and continued adoption of SD-WAN are three top trends shaping the cable industry's enterprise focus, according to executives and pundits attending Light Reading's recent event in New York.
While cable operators' residential video business suffers increased competition from telcos' investment in Gfast and VDSL, as well as OTT competition, cable enjoys gains in new commercial customers, financial analyst Craig Moffett said. In fact, the top four cable companies in the US will earn more than $15 billion in commercial services revenue in 2017, Heavy Reading projects. And that means business services alone basically offsets cable's residential video market declines, wrote Light Reading's Mari Silbey.
The result may be good for enterprises' bottom lines -- but bodes poorly for service providers overall, Moffett cautioned. Cablecos are not only chomping at telcos' market share, but are competing on price. With more cable operators targeting the lucrative enterprise arena, price wars add up to shrinking margins.
But that doesn't necessarily mean cablecos aren't betting on the benefit of more services. In fact, more operators are deploying SD-WAN as part of their strategy to add new services for business (and in some cases, residential) customers.
Cox, for example, currently is trialing SD-WAN, executive director of technology Dan Estes said during the Future of Cable Business Services event.
"The platform that we've selected is a proprietary platform," Estes told Light Reading's Silbey. "It's got its own software package that they're bringing to the table. And it is the vision that we would extend that over time to be more of a software-defined network," and a more open platform as well.
SD-WAN is only the start, however.
Cable operators recognize the additional benefits they can reap once they develop platforms that run multiple products beyond SD-WAN. Virtual network functions (VNFs) empower cablecos to partner with multiple vendors to then offer a variety of services -- such as security and managed services -- to enterprises.
This capability means operators also must pay more attention to integrating components like security, analytics and automation throughout an SD-WAN solution, Glenn Calafati, cable segment market leader at Ciena, told Carol Wilson of Light Reading at the event.
"One of the things we are seeing that is consistent across the entire segment is the desire for agility with services and the over-arching request for quality of experience for users, so that means analytic tools, toolkits and a visualization of what is happening," he said.
On Jan. 23, Broadband World News hosts a Calix-sponsored webinar that explores several ways CSPs can enhance customer experience and find new business opportunities to avoid devolving into a speed race where nobody wins, not even the customer.
As the pool of savvy, fiber-rich operators across the US rural and regional landscape wanes, the financial community will grow even more interested in acquiring or investing in them, a CoBank report says.
It wasn't long ago that TV was ranked by subscribers as the most important service in the bundle provided by their communications service provider (CSP). Recent research indicates that for nearly three quarters of subscribers, broadband is now the most important service. Broadcast TV is the most important service to only 15% of North American consumers, replaced by OTT video streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+. In addition, many different competitors are moving aggressively to stake a claim in consumers' homes.
In 2020, CSPs need to fight back by transforming their business models, which are becoming more reliant on a single source of revenue: fixed broadband services.
This webinar will focus on helping CSPs transform their business models by placing a firm focus on delivering a sensational subscriber experience and by offering compelling new services that generate value for subscribers. These actions will reinforce the CSP's strategic position in the home network and position themselves for growth in the next decade.
Key topics include:
Being the first to market with WiFi 6 technology, in response to consumer purchases of new devices over the holidays;
Having the insights needed to proactively resolve issues, often before your subscribers even know that there are issues;
Providing help desk agents with the visibility they need to resolve common subscriber issues more quickly;
Delivering a mobile app, in response to consumer demands for the ability to do some things themselves, rather than having to call technical support; and
Addressing consumer concerns around device security, privacy and control with enhanced security and parental controls.
In this insightful Light Reading radio show, Kurt Raaflaub, Head of Strategic Solutions Marketing, will outline the key service provider challenges, deployment considerations, next-gen Gigabit technologies, and service models to win market share in the rapidly growing MDU market.