The biggest challenge for Cable Cable – a small triple-play provider in Ontario, Canada – is competing for video subscribers against satellite behemoths and their huge marketing budgets.
Cable Cable has about 4,200 subscribers. Its HFC plant can beat satellite in Internet and telephony, says Michael Fiorini, general manager at Cable Cable, but it has a harder time competing for video customers. Satellite operators can lure subscribers with the promise of scores of HD channels so, to beef up its own video offerings, Cable Cable chose a hosted switched digital video (SDV) solution from Adara Technologies.
"Satellite is becoming more clever; they’re giving more HD and VOD," says Fiorini. "Through Adara, we were able to that as well."
Since the launch of the Adara SDV solution in 2009, Cable Cable has increased the number of HD channels it now offers to subscribers from 25 to 100, with ample bandwidth to continue adding more HD services.
Fiorini acknowledges that a lot of operators are deploying digital terminal adapters (DTAs) to transition their networks to all-digital and to reclaim bandwidth from analog. But, he says, Cable Cable’s analog package is a moneymaking product it prefers to keep.
"We maintain our 71-channel analog line-up," he explains. "After Channel 71, everything is digital. With SDV, you can send 1,000 channels down a cable plant. There is no reclamation here."
Adara Uses Cisco
The Adara hosted and managed solution incorporates Cisco’s SDV technology with Cisco’s digital set-top boxes. Although Adara uses Cisco technology, its solution is designed to co-exist with other digital video platform set-top boxes and conditional access (CA) technologies service providers currently may be supporting, including those from Motorola.
Joseph Nucara, co-founder and CEO of Adara, points out that a lot of small operators feel locked into their historical choice of either a Motorola or Cisco system. Adara’s solution breaks that industry paradigm.
Adara’s SDV solution uses Cisco’s latest 4600- and 8600- series hybrid (RF+IP) set-tops to take advantage of the RF plant for video delivery while being Web-connected for OTT delivery, as well. While new set-tops are expensive, the operator only deploys advanced boxes to customers who want to upgrade to digital services.
Of Cable Cable’s 4,200 subscribers, 1,700 of them now are receiving digital-TV services with Cisco boxes, Fiorini says, adding, "Normally, SDV is a complicated technology to deploy and operate for a small operator. With Adara’s expertise and hosted and managed implementation, it was as easy and transparent to our customers as flicking a switch.”