2007 Is the Year of the Triple Play

Cablecos and telcos have been discussing and doing early rollouts of bundled voice, video and data services for a few years now, but 2007 is expected to see things on the triple-play front shift into high gear.

Thats the subject of the panel Looking Ahead in 07: The Year of the Triple Play, at COMPTEL PLUS today in Las Vegas.

According to Craig Easley, associate vice president of marketing at Ethernet-over-copper equipment supplier Actelis Networks, and one of the speakers on the panel, telcos should take a serious look at Ethernet access networks for delivery of their triple-play services. Thats because Ethernet networks offer a great deal of flexibility in terms of bandwidth, he said.

This flexibility is especially meaningful when you consider video-on-demand applications, he said, because VoD puts enormous strain on the access network since unlike broadcast, VoD doesnt allow service providers to gauge how many users are requesting on-demand programming at any given time. That said, its tough to plan for VoD from a bandwidth perspective, said Easley.

So since Ethernet is more flexible, it can scale to allow operators to significantly upgrade or expand the amount of bandwidth available in the access network. The statistical multiplexing gains in Ethernet have a tremendous benefit for folks doing video delivery, specifically for VoD, Easley explained.

The challenge, then, is how do you get an Ethernet access network in the ground fast enough to meet that need? posited Easley. Using copper-bonded technology, even over long loops, can [deliver] up to 50-meg service. That is more than sufficient for VoD. Using short loops bonded you can get several hundred megs to the end user.

Stephen Klein, director of video solutions at Zhone Technologies Inc., which also offers Ethernet solutions, will be a panelist for the triple-play session. The other panelist is Marty Clift, vice president of regulatory affairs at Cavalier Telephone, a mid-Atlantic CLEC that is a pioneer in delivering IPTV services.

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