The idea of a bandwidth crisis that has cable close to hanging an "out of bandwidth" sign on the front door is "unwarranted," Cox [COX] CTO Chris Bowick said Wed at SCTE’s annual confab. "I know we’ve got enough…the tools available to optimize bandwidth are there. We just need to deploy them." Recombining nodes, advanced multiplexing and converting analog channels to digital were examples mentioned during a panel on ways to leverage recently upgraded systems without dragging out backhoes for bandwidth bolstering. "Tearing up streets is the last thing you want to do," Charter [CHTR] CTO Wayne Davis said. "It took [the industry] $85bln to get where it is now. It’s going to cost a whole lot less to get to all-digital." Panelists’ comments came as the "Next Generation Network Architecture" project led by Comcast [CMCSA], Cox and Time Warner is receiving plenty of press attention. Bowick wasn’t too specific about the project, but said it’s critical to look at the next-generation network. "We need to open up the architecture to any and all vendors to get in the game, and open things up to the retail sale." (Laura Hamilton, Communications Technology mag) – – CEO Chatter: No surprise VoIP emerged as a hot button during SCTE’s CEO panel, with Bright House Networks announcing a managed VoIP launch Mon in Tampa. Carl Vogel distilled Charter’s experience in St Louis and Wausau, WI, thus: "Your plant has to be clean, and your back office has to work." But he downplayed Verizon’s FTTH rollout in Keller, TX. "We haven’t seen much impact," he said. "It’s something to talk about on analyst calls." Other topics included HD: Advance/Newhouse’s Bob Miron revealed 12% of Bright House subs (42K) are using HD. On ITV: Sex and gambling will be the top apps in some markets "but a lot of it can be very pedestrian," such as simple game or customer care, OpenTV [OPTV] chmn/CEO Jim Chiddix said. — Jonathan Tombes, Communications Technology mag

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