If there was a postcard from last week’s CableLabs Summer Conference in Keystone, CO, it might read: "Wishing you were here. Well, maybe not." The event is closed to the media, other than one who is also a "paid consultant" of CableLabs, and vendors are required to fork out $10,000 each to touch the hand of cable greatness and to set up booths at the event. Noticeably absent from the roster of 81 companies in the "snake pit" was Scientific Atlanta, but it may have thrown in with Cisco‘s booth, although one attendee said there were no S-A shirts visible there. Another source that attended the conference wondered how many of the vendors at the Keystone event would be back in the coming years due to consolidation and in-house development by cable operators. Better nab the $10k while you can …. That admission price only gets you so far, however. Vendor employees are prohibited from attending some of the sessions (the ones that were marked CABLE OPERATOR MEMBERS ONLY in the agenda, lest there be any confusion), which conjures up images of little kids being locked out of the big kids’ clubhouse. According to one source, vendors who made the mistake of wandering into the conference center foyer without the proper credentials met CableLabs security shouting, "Excuse me! Excuse me!" Vendors and excluded media are naturally curious. This year the members-only sessions had the following labels: *Bandwidth Management *PacketCable Peering Backbone *Business Services Roundtable *VoIP Operators Forum Project meetings (also labeled operator members-only) included the following: *PacketCable Business Team *OpenCable Tech Team *ETV/OCAP Signaling Meeting *SCTE Data Standards Subcommittee (DSS) The program does allow for vendors and operators to mix and mingle on some topics. This year those sessions included several that seemed to focus on dealing with competition ("Attack of the Clones," and "IPTV Technology"), several on OCAP and one on DSG. – Mike Robuck

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