Happy July. This being the seventh month of 2007, the Federal Communications Commission‘s ban on the deployment of set-top boxes with integrated security goes into effect.

Going into Cable-Tec Expo, I heard words such "operational nightmare" associated with this ban. The end of July will see The Independent Show taking place in Monterey, CA. Hosted by the National Cable Television Cooperative and the American Cable Association, this event will be another barometer of the impact that this ham-handed regulation is having on the operator community.

Looking ahead to the fall, DOCSIS watchers are focusing on CableLabs‘ certification wave 56, which should inaugurate the tiered DOCSIS 3.0 approval process. But how many will bring their goods to this October event?

I’ve heard one insider say that three modem vendors (one for sure) and two or three cable modem termination system (CMTS) vendors will be there. Given the urgency behind this DOCSIS initiative and the tiered approval process, I’d bet that those numbers are good.

On the other hand, given the challenges of spinning new silicon, I wouldn’t put too much money at stake. That said, wagers accepted.

Looking much further ahead, I’d like to note that this month’s cover story not only illustrates the old-boots, new-boots generation gap among cable’s technical workforce, but also underscores a larger demographic shift currently underway.

The Baby Boom generation is beginning its long march into retirement. But its successor cohort, whatever you call it, is much smaller. Absent a corresponding boost in the qualified immigrant labor market, those trends lead to these conclusions: Companies will need to get more results out of fewer workers, and competition for those workers will grow.

For cable operators and service providers of all stripes, that makes network efficiency and employee turnover two metrics well worth watching. Jonathan Tombes

The Daily



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