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Frank Meywerk, Unitymedia KabelBW
During preparations for the topical Fixed Access Networks summit 2015, we’ve recently spoken with the CTO of Germany’s largest cable operator, who will be joining the panel on HFC networks on April 23 in Berlin: Frank Meywerk, CTO, Unitymedia KabelBW
1. As CTO of Germany’s largest cable operator in terms of revenue and a leading provider of broadband cable services in North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse and Baden-Württemberg, could you please give us some insight into the uptake of broadband services, and how this has changed in recent years in comparison to other services offered by cable operators?
FM: “The growing popularity of streaming offerings, particularly VOD and SVOD, is driving demand for higher bandwidths. The average data usage volume per customer at Unitymedia KabelBW is currently around 50 GB a month. Year on year, this represents an increase of 54 per cent. Unitymedia KabelBW recognized this trend earlier than others and is very successful with its high-speed Internet products. More than half of our new broadband Internet customers order download speeds of 100 Mbit/s or more. In November 2014, we also became the first major Internet provider in Germany to offer download speeds of up to 200 Mbit/s throughout our network.”
2. What are cable operators most struggling with while deploying new technologies for fixed broadband?
FM: “More and more customers understand the superiority of cable networks, but not all regulators do. Thus, every now and then, we struggle with new or proposed regulation that is designed to suit the characteristics of traditional copper DSL networks, but does not necessarily fit the particularities of our coax-fiber technology. This is, for example, true for the current discussion about a unified definition of the network termination point across all technologies, or also, when it comes to define the conditions for public subsidies in areas, where broadband rollout cannot be achieved through private investments only. This could hamper the roll-out of innovation and taking full profit of our superior network technology for the further digitization in Germany.”
3. Is the future of cable networks in HFC or eventually all fibre? What will this depend on?
FM: “The success story of hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) networks still has a long way to run. For customers, HFC will remain the most economical technology for the foreseeable future. Compared with other technologies, it enables cable operators to implement capacity upgrades at a much lower cost. By way of node splits, fibre is being brought progressively closer to the consumer. This practice is continuously increasing the share of fibre in the network – in particular where customers are demanding high-speed broadband. In November 2014 Unitymedia KabelBW became the first major German internet provider to offer internet connections with a download speed of up to 200 mbps throughout its network. Further speed increases are already scheduled. In the long term, we will thus achieve an all-fibre network structure. We are accomplishing this upgrade in an economically intelligent way.”
4. What are your expectations from DOCSIS 3.1?
FM: “DOCSIS 3.1 will enable us to offer broadband speeds in the gigabit range. We will thus be reinforcing our strong position in the fixed broadband market and developing new customer segments.”
5. What are you most looking forward to at the conference in April 2015?
FM: “I am keen on finding out how other companies at the summit are dealing with the impact OTT has on network occupancy rates. I am also looking forward to gaining new insights into the technologies other players see as having the highest potential to shape our industry.”
Listen to Frank speak on HFC networks on April 23 in Berlin: Frank Meywerk, CTO, Unitymedia KabelBW
09.50 Cable Operators’ Panel: What’s the Future of Cable as HFC Networks?
- Differentiation of services for cable operators
- Considering the relationship between TV and broadband usage
- Customer experience and QoS for cable broadband – Is it about the services for the consumer?
- Cable and open networks, is there a case?
- The introduction of new superfast technologies by cable
- Cable combined with fibre and copper – What are the real possibilities and potential?
Frank Meywerk, CTO, Unitymedia KabelBW
Neil Geary, Technical Strategy Consultant, CPE & Network, Chief Architecture Office (CAO), Liberty Global
Ed Mallette, Distinguished Engineer, Bright House Networks, US
To download the programme for the event, click here: http://bit.ly/1vTeG3E
To register or apply for a free operator pass, click here: http://bit.ly/1q0PYyS
We look forward to seeing you in Berlin in April 2015!