Cable MSO Market: Less Talk, More Action for Network Virtualization

The majority of large cable MSOs are now actively working on plans to virtualize and distribute their access networks, according to results from a recent SNL Kagan survey of 35 cablecos around the globe, reported Light Reading and Fierce Cable.

Light Reading’s assessment of the report noted that:

  • 34% of MSOs surveyed plan to pursue some type of distributed access architecture (DAA) strategy by the end of 2018, and 26% plan to start implementing DAA solutions in 2019 or later. Their motivation is to boost spectrum efficiency in order to offer faster broadband and advanced video services. 
  • Cable MSOs are divided on the best approach to DAA; 49% plan to adopt a remote physical layer (PHY), while 40% will take that further with a remote MAC/PHY strategy. 
  • MSO spending on virtualized Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP) solution is expected to grow from $13.8 million in 2017 to almost $671 million by 2021.  

Fierce Cable’s assessment of the report noted that:

  • 61% of surveyed cable MSOs plan to virtualized their CCAP or distribute their access infrastructure by the end of 2018. This change is coming soon!
  • 54% expect to deliver bandwidth in the 101 Mbps-500 Mbps range by the end of 2018, and a further 25% said they plan to deliver speeds from 501 Mbps-1 Gbps. Increasing bandwidth is clearly (and unsurprisingly) a priority. 
  • 66% expect to have 1.2 GHz more spectral capacity in their plant by end of 2018. 
  • Achieving their bandwidth and spectral capacity goals over the next few years will mostly be done using existing HFC plant, DOCSIS 3.1, distributed access, and full duplex. This means full fiber-to-the-home won’t be necessary to retain broadband competitiveness, at least in the short term. 

All of this paints a picture of a cable MSO landscape in which operators are—like their counterparts in other segments of the communications service market—driven by the need to improve the speed of their broadband services, and accommodate continued traffic growth. Investing in access networks also gives their operators the ability to compete with new types of services in future. 


In her role as Senior Marketing Writer at Accedian, Mae blogs, manages social media strategy, and produces a variety of collateral focused on thought leadership around telecom industry news and trends. She has more than 15 years of journalism and marketing experience, covering business-to-business technology, including telecom, for a variety of organizations including and Ziff Davis. Mae holds a B.A. in communications from Thomas Edison State College.

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  • Acronym Guide

    327 Terms, Page 1 of 82


    Second Generation
    A cellular telecom network that uses second-generation wireless technology. Such networks digitally encrypt phone conversations, and allow data services including SMS text messages.


    Third Generation
    A cellular network that uses third-generation wireless technology based on standards that support wireless voice telephony, mobile and fixed internet access, video calls, and mobile TV. Such networks are capable of data transfer rates of at least 200 Kbps and as fast as 21 Mbps.


    Third Generation Partnership Project
    International collaboration among telecommunications associations, with the purpose of developing and maintaining the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) specification for 3G mobile networks.


    Fourth Generation
    A cellular network that uses fourth generation wireless technology to deliver mobile broadband internet access in addition to voice and text messaging. Two synonymous 4G systems are commercially deployed: Mobile WiMAX an Long Term Evolution (LTE). LTE is the predominant system in the U.S.

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