Parks Associates Blog

Thursday, November 15, 2007

MoCA Technology Conference

I'm in Austin for the first-annual MoCA Technology Conference. It sure is nice to have my shortest flight of the year!

Verizon is here in full-force, with a keynote address from their CTO, Mark Wegleitner and panel participation from others who have been key to the FiOS deployments and the home network efforts. Wegleitner indicates that Verizon expects to see seven million FiOS broadband customers by year-end 2010 (35-40% take rate) and 3-4 million FiOS TV subscribers (20-25% take rate). It was interesting to hear him say that the next things to watch in TV services will include HD VoD and even 3D television. Also, Verizon sees significant upstream bandwidth requirements building, given the amount of self-generated content being created and to support applications such as gaming, network-hosted applications, and storage, medical monitoring, and remote home monitoring.

I still sense that the cable industry hasn't quite figured out what to do with home networking. Although I've heard telcos and satellite providers speak about how they're going to use home networking technology to support multi-room DVR, I don't sense the same enthusiasm from the cable MSOs. They're going to have to roll with it in order to stay on par with the offerings coming from their video competitors. The take rate for Verizon's Home Media DVR take rate is now slightly higher than the 12% that the company was reporting in September 2006, although I don't have any more specific information on this right now.

Also, I'm struck by a lack of talk from the cable MSOs about network management, monitoring, remote support, and troubleshooting. This, in my opinion, is where the telcos really "get it." As much abuse as Verizon took from the financial analysts and Wall Street for its CAPEX plans, the financial guys better start paying attention to how increasing customer support requirements are going to significantly elevate OPEX if the carriers don't do anything about it. Werner from Comcast said that the cable MSOs don't see digital home management features as pay-per-services (such as BT's Home IT Advisor service). Okay, that's fair, but I just don't hear much of anything coming from them about using CableHome or other protocols to reduce customer support costs. Dave Waks, one of my panelists on an analyst and press panel, questioned why the cable industry can't simply use TR-069 to more predominately promote remote management capabilities. The biggest holdup, he indicates, is that TR-069 comes from the DSL Forum and wasn't developed organically by the cable industry. I had an interesting lunch conversation on this subject and asked the naive question, "Wasn't CableHome supposed to solve remote management for the cable industry?" The short answer is yes, but the commentary from my lunch companions is that CableHome was overengineered and has not been widely accepted. What I was told is that the cable operators realize that there is a problem that still needs to be solved. And, as my source noted, "Acknowledging that there is a problem is always the first step in any 12-step recovery program."

It is also interesting to hear from some international representatives here about how network upgrades are going to progress internationally for both telcos and cablecos. European telcos such as France Telecom, Telefónica, Telecom Italia, Neuf Cegetel, and others are now interested in network upgrades (as referenced in our IPTV: From Quadruple Play to Multiplay) report. Also, players in China and Singapore are also considering GPON deployments.

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