In a reference to the tectonic plates that created the Alpine peaks towering above Cable Congress’s Lucerne venue, Manuel Kohnstamm, Cable Europe President, told delegates that organisers had coined the phrase ‘Techtonic Forces’ to describe the 2011 event, because “we want the world to know that cable is pushing the communications industry to new peaks of performance.”
In his welcome speech, he pointed out that the cable industry had already shown steady growth through the economic crisis in past years, but was now really jumping ahead in performance, and sending competitive shock-waves through Europe.
What he found most remarkable was the new energy seen in core television markets. “Years of dedicated investments in HD, VOD and interactive television have set the massive European analogue cable subscriber base in motion,” he said, suggesting that the vast majority of European consumers was now rapidly embracing the new intelligent television.
“And once that group starts moving, as you all know, everything moves: Broadcasters are moving as they are more inclined to schedule dedicated HD and interactive programming, our vendors are moving as they scale the technology and make better and cheaper gear, and our customers are moving as they embrace new services and inspiring us to keep on innovating,” he observed.
He said it had taken a little while before the policymakers of Europe were ready to believe the European cable industry‘s role in making the Digital Agenda happen, but that it was now actually proving it. “I testified to the European Parliament that already today we deliver over 30 Mbs to about half of Europe’s 220 million households. And by 2020 we should expect more than 55 per cent of European households to have access to at least 100Mb services from cable,” he declared.
He noted that in any market, telecom infrastructure competition is crucially important, as it creates a constant need to innovate. “We could have stopped at 30 Mb , but we did not,” he admitted. “We are going to these incredible speeds beyond 1 Gb, because we can not take a single technology lead for granted. It’s part of our DNA to keep pushing it – and it’s why we are such an inconvenient threat to our competitors.”
“Together, in our tectonic clashes, I am convinced we will reach new peaks of connectivity, creating the best performing and largest IP infrastructure region in the world. Networks made of multiple fixed and mobile network operators carrying voice, video and data – whatever mix it takes to make it work, we’ll be there,” he stated, suggesting that such networks would serve European consumers who were increasingly technology agnostic and more interested in digital lifestyle and experiences than the physical characteristics of the networks.
“Today our customers care about what social network or on-line community they belong to, how portable the digital product is that they are buying on their various devices, what kind of premium content they can see, and where,” he noted.
He assured delegates that was also the way the European cable industry was building its future digital products from the ultra high speed broadband and media gateways to interactive television. “Our customers should feel a maximum freedom in using the networks, services, applications, communities, devices and content sources of their choice,” he said.
He predicted that the new generation of digital consumer would ensure the creation of a new digital value chain that could boost growth in the EU’s digital economy. “We are ready to serve them,” he concluded.