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ET Puts an Eye on the Competition

Denver— Cable engineers will get their first look at new technologies just over the horizon at the Society of Cable Television Engineers’ Emerging Technologies conference, Jan. 11 to 13 in Huntington Beach, Calif.

“The numbers are significantly ahead of last year,” SCTE CEO John Clark said. “We already have critical mass for 2005.”

Among the highlights is a conference-opening speech by Paul Allen, founder and chairman of Vulcan Inc. and chairman of Charter Communications. But SCTE executives said they haven’t been clued into what Allen will talk about.

ET has always strived to look at technology issues that may materialize in three to five years, Clark said.

“There is a greater emphasis on competition — DSL, [fiber to the home], Wi-Fi and satellite, but cable may be looking at competition in a different way than we have in the past,” he said. “We looked at them primarily as competitors. Now we’re seeing the technology as technology we may be integrating with. That’s a different perspective.

“The emphasis on competitive technologies is very strong here.”

Indeed, one of the Jan. 12 panels after the Allen speech is “Emerging Wireless Technologies — Friend or Foe?” Other sessions center on bandwidth management, transport system, network intelligence and home networking.

Last week, the SCTE named Randy Horn, regional director of data engineering at Adelphia Communications Corp., as the winner of its 2005 Young Engineer of the Year award, an award also sponsored by Scientific-Atlanta Inc. and Multichannel News.

Horn receives an all-expenses trip to ET plus $1,000 in cash.

David Johnson, regional vice president of engineering at Adelphia, nominated Horn for his work in refining processes for improving Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification performance and availability, and for developing new methods to leverage multiple upstream and downstream DOCSIS channels.

“Randy is willing, able and ready to assist with challenging problems and will provide any type of work required for the solution,” Johnson said.