Argentine MSOs fearful of wireless broadband

Juan Pablo Conti ©RapidTVNews | 09-12-2011

Lack of competitiveness could mean the comparative advantage that cable operators have traditionally had in the residential broadband market could soon evaporate in the face of surging competition from mobile phone carriers.
That, at least, was the warning launched by Raúl Malisani, head and partner of San Vicente Cable, a regional MSO serving the small town of San Vicente in the Santa Fe province of Argentina. He was speaking during last week's NexTV Latin America Summit 2011, an industry event held in the nation's capital, Buenos Aires.
"We are doing very badly in terms of broadband speeds compared with the rest of the world," Malisani admitted. "At the beginning of this year, our speed offerings were outperforming those of mobile phone operators by five to one. Now, with [América Móvil's] Claro announcing a 5 Mbit/s service, fixed broadband will soon become the second-best alternative."
The entrepreneur called for the national cable industry to migrate "urgently" to DOCSIS 3.0 (the CableLabs-developed technology that uses channel bonding techniques to boost download speeds beyond 200 Mbit/s), and to upgrade HFC networks to a "Node 0" (fibre deep) architecture in order to remain competitive.
"Short term, we need to have a service bundle that combines 20 Mbit/s residential broadband access (on average per subscriber), with 30 analogue TV channels, 50 standard-definition digital channels and 30 HD digital channels," said Malisani.
He added that all of these services can perfectly be delivered using 850MHz HFC infrastructure. According to his calculations, a network operating on 1GHz could support an additional 23 TV channels.