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Cable Network Moves to Open Doors for New Players

Cable operators are shelling out cash on network tweaks to up their broadband capacity, moves that will not only benefit the coffers of incumbent suppliers but also create opportunities for vendors trying to elbow their way in.

That’s one of the expectations set to stem from cable operator spending on two important network-facing initiatives — distributed access architectures (DAA) and new “virtual” converged cable access platform (vCCAP) implementations — that are poised to spike in the next five years, according to a new forecast from Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence.

As operators look to save headend space and pack more capacity onto their access networks, Kagan sees spending on remote PHY and remote MACPHY optical nodes — elements that move important electronics and functions of traditionally centralized CCAPs toward the edge of the network — jumping from $60.9 million this year, to $544.7 million in 2019, and $969.2 million in 2022.

Kagan is also forecasting that virtual CCAP/CMTS revenues will climb from $20.5 million in 2018 to $536.3 million in 2022, anticipating operators in North America and Western Europe will lead the way initially in virtualizing a “small percentage of their systems.”

Though a portion of that will go to market-leading incumbent CCAP suppliers such as Arris, Cisco Systems and Casa Systems, those initiatives are likewise expected to open up opportunities for others trying to elbow their way in.

“It’s clear that there will be opportunities for those new suppliers,” Jeff Heynen, consulting director at SNL Kagan, said.

There’s already some evidence to back that up. Sweden’s ComHem, for example, is starting to deploy a centralized virtual CCAP approach in partnership with Harmonic and its “CableOS” platform, and WideOpenWest is pushing ahead on a DAA project with Nokia.