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Dave Fellows Joins SCTE ‘Energy 2020’ Team

Dave Fellows, the long-time cable engineering exec and co-founder and CTO of “next-generation cable operator” Layer3TV, has joined the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers’ Energy 2020 initiative in the role of “chief scientist.”

Noting that his interest in energy consumption dates back to the late 1970s, Fellows, who is late of MSOs such as Comcast and AT&T Broadband and suppliers such as Scientific-Atlanta (now part of Cisco Systems), said he reached out to offer his help to SCTE 2020, which is currently being co-chaired by John Schanz, EVP and chief network officer of Comcast Cable, and Balan Nair, the EVP and CTO of Liberty Global.

“This [SCTE 2020 initiative] is important to me, it’s important to my company, and it’s important to the industry,” said Fellows, who has been serving in the role for more than three weeks. 

Introduced last June and outlined at last year’s SCTE Cable-Tec Expo in Denver, Energy 2020’s energy targets include a 20% reduction of power consumption a unit basis; a 25% reduction in energy costs on a unit basis; a 10% reduction of grid dependency, and an optimization of technical facilities and datacenters footprint by 20%.

Fellows’ interest in the energy-savings game stretches back to 1979, when he was doing research for GTE and filed a patent for a digital energy line sensor, which was issued in 1982. The patent, focused on the need for devices to require access to power on a 24/7 basis but do so on an energy-efficient basis, enables a device to power everything down except for a very low power sensor that would then monitor for signals indicating the need for the device to fully power up again.

Though the invention was focused on the telephone networks of the day, the base idea seems more significant today as more and more devices are connected to the Internet. “It was the Internet of Things before there was an Internet,” Fellows said.

In his role as Energy 2020’s chief scientist, Fellows will work closely with the program’s stakeholders to accelerate the industry’s strategic approach to energy resource management. He’ll be responsible for ensuring the work being output by the nine Energy 2020 Working Groups fits with the grand vision of the Energy 2020 Steering Committee and Core Team.

Layer3 TV has not revealed much about its specific service plans, but the Denver-based company, co-founded by another industry vet, Jeff Binder, has a goal to be “the greenest cable company in the world,” according to Fellows.

“A key milestone on the Energy 2020 roadmap is the weaving of new standards and operational practices into our cohesive long-term strategy,” Comcast’s Schanz said, in a statement. “With his vision, industry expertise and organizational skills, Dave Fellows is the catalyst we need to help our working groups come to conclusions on solutions to technical problems.”

“Dave Fellows’ background as a cable operations executive, a vendor, an entrepreneur and a physicist give him a 360-degree view of the industry that will be of great value in working across multiple Energy 2020 constituencies,” Liberty Global's Nair added. “What’s most important, however, is the unwavering commitment he and the Layer3 TV team share to reducing the industry’s energy footprint. We plan on using the Energy2020 specifications in all of our future RFPs as a requirement. This is how critical this initiative is to us.”