Europe takes breakfast with US cable

By Julian Clover

THE CABLE SHOW – WASHINGTON DC. Common issues such as the deployment of high speed internet and the need to compete with over the top internet TV emerged at a breakfast meeting hosted by Cable Europe.

Manuel Kohnstamm, managing Director, public policy & communications, Liberty Global Europe said European operators had made a significant investment in broadband that was greater than their immediate competitors. Chris Lammers, COO, CableLabs said the new DOCSIS 3.0 was already available to over 30 million US homes, largely on the Comcast network, adding that Time Warner, Cablevision and Comcast were all at various stages of DOCSIS 3.0 deployment.

Lammers told delegates from the US and Europe that domestic digital penetration was expected to rise from the present 65% up to 90% within the next few years. “Most operators are leaving some free-to-air analogue content through a digital framework,” he said. The FTA broadcasts are picked up on TV sets without the need for a digital set-top.

Kohnstamm said the popularity of digital services had led to a 50% take rate of HD or DVR set-tops across the Liberty Global network. 65% of UPC NL sales are now for the DVR product. There was a need to develop the more user friendly interfaces expected by the internet generation. “Customers are spoiled by the UI of the iPhone and we’re aware we have to get into that league as well.”