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Bill St. Arnaud is a R&E Network and Green IT consultant who works with clients on a variety of subjects such as the next generation research and education and Internet networks. He also works with clients to develop practical solutions to reduce GHG emissions such as free broadband and dynamiccharging of eVehicles (See . View my complete profile

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Cable companies confront bandwidth crunch as networks move TV shows to Internet

[Here is an excellent article from Lightreading on the bandwidth challenges facing cable companies. They are starting to realize that their HFC plant may not be sufficient to handle this tsunami of video data and new applications and they too must start to explore fiber to the home (but I hope that will not be sucked into various PONzi technologies that are being promoted. What is also interesting is the plans for CBS to move its prime time TV shows to the Internet a day before they are broadcast on TV. Thanks to Dirk van der Woude for this pointer. Some excerpts from the Lightreading article -- BSA]

Cable Confronts Bandwidth Crunch

Shaking off two years of disbelief and dismay, the cable industry has finally started dealing with the prospect of an impending bandwidth shortage.

They're even weighing such previously unthinkable moves as building fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks and adopting PON architecture, just like some of the big phone companies.

...the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers 's annual Emerging Technologies show, found cable officials soberly agreeing that skyrocketing subscriber bandwidth consumption is threatening to overwhelm even their fattest broadband pipes.

...panelists blamed the startling increase in Internet video use over the past couple of years. In particular, they focused on the sudden rise of YouTube Inc. , which now serves up 120 million video streams per day and draws more than 34 million unique users each month to its Website.

Jeff Binder, senior director of Motorola Inc. warned that the big broadcast networks may soon pose an even greater threat to the cable industry's video business model than YouTube. He cited CBS Corp. plans to stream its primetime programs on the Web for no charge a day earlier than their first run on the TV network.

Knorr, whose cable system serves a major college town, said he's already seeing early signs that younger consumers are opting for Internet video downloads over traditional cable video service. In Lawrence, home to the University of Kansas, 5,000 of the cable system's 40,000 subscribers only take high-speed data service.