With sweeping changes rocking the European cable industry, cablecos are responding by adopting new, at-times divergent, strategies to survive and thrive in the turbulent environment.
Let's run through the leading changes one by one. First, several European MSOs are now consolidating their cable assets across the continent, scaling back operations to concentrate on their most profitable, best-positioned systems. Consider Liberty Global Europe BV , which is selling off its systems in Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania and may soon be slicing off its Swiss system as well, slashing its number of European markets from 11 to six and possibly five. (See Liberty Stages European Retreat and Liberty Global: A Tale of Two Companies?)
While MSOs like Liberty are downsizing, though, other European MSOs have gone on a shopping spree, scooping up cable assets from the big sellers. Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) provides the biggest example, buying up most of the Liberty Global systems and recently entering into a joint Dutch cable venture with Liberty. (See Vodafone, Liberty Global Form Dutch JV.)
Turning to the technology front, several cablecos are eschewing their legacy HFC networks to join the all-fiber brigade as they seek to match the fiber-endowed telco incumbents. Take Altice , which is now furiously laying down FTTH networks in France and Portugal as well as in the US. (See Altice Hails French Recovery as Earnings Rise, Altice Plans FTTH for Entire US Footprint and Altice USA Lights Up FTTH Service in Long Island.)
Even as Altice leads the all-fiber parade, other leading cablecos are doubling down on their existing HFC networks as the best way to compete. This growing MSO group -- which includes Liberty Global in the UK and Germany, Vodafone in Germany and Spain, com hem AB in Sweden, TDC Group and Stofa in Denmark and, most recently, Eltrona in little old Luxembourg -- are deploying DOCSIS 3.1, converting to Fiber Deep, switching to Remote PHY or pursuing some combination of these technological upgrades. (See Remote PHY Moves Needle in Europe and Eltrona Launches DOCSIS 3.1 & DAA With Arris.)
What do all these changes mean for European cable operators? Where will they lead the industry? How can cablecos keep up with the competition? Aiming to answer these and other key questions, Light Reading is introducing our inaugural Cable Next-Gen Europe conference in London on November 6 at the Radisson Blu Portman Hotel.
Based on our popular Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies conference in Denver each March, Cable Next-Gen Europe will offer a comprehensive look at cable’s efforts to develop, deploy and monetize new technologies, platforms, products, services, features and applications on the continent. Leading European and US cable technologists will examine the industry’s latest tech moves, spell out the strategies behind them, dissect the hurdles in front of them and discuss how to overcome those hurdles.
Home in on the opportunities and challenges facing European cable operators. Join Light Reading for the Cable Next-Gen Europe event in London on Nov. 6. All cable operators and other communications service providers get in free!
Specifically, cable tech experts will tackle such timely topics as DOCSIS 3.1, Full Duplex DOCSIS, Distributed Access Architecture, Fiber Deep, FTTH, network virtualization, cloud-based video platforms, streaming video, cable-mobile convergence and others. Both Cable Europe and SCTE Europe are serving as program partners for the event and will supply moderators and speakers.
Featured speakers will include: Mark Burns, HFC Architect, Liberty Global; Anders Bloom, Senior Systems Manager of Broadband, Com Hem; Paulo Valente, Director of Technology Policy, Cable Europe; Tony Gunnarsson, Principal Analyst, Ovum; Frank Miller, CTO, EMEA, Ciena; and Jim Crammond, Senior Director of Operator Business Development, Intel. More speakers are still in the works.
It promises to be the start of a much-needed dialogue about how European cablecos can cope with the rapidly shifting competitive landscape. So please join us on Tuesday, Nov. 6 for Cable Next-Gen Europe in London. We’ll make it worth your while.
Hope to see you all in London.
— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading