The transition to IPv6 and the network planning needed to accomplish it is underway, and the new users that will embrace the enhanced Internet are the industry’s future customers.

At least that’s the idea.

Panelists during the final session yesterday of the NCTC’s Winter Educational Conference (WEC) in Long Beach, CA, provided a wide range of Internet-specific innovations and issues—from progress in Washington (or the lack thereof) on Internet access to the “new user.”

In transition are both high-speed data infrastructure and services.

“We’re seeing changes in network planning on a global basis and the difference between IPv6 and 4, which is the number of additional addresses, and online video content is increasing,” said Mike Emmendorfer, senior director of solution architecture and strategy for ARRIS.

Emmendorfer said that this new era of rapid change, especially in IP video, requires close collaboration between vendors and MSOs.

Policy and consumers

Those changes can’t come fast enough, especially on the regulatory front, according to panelist Matt Polka, president and CEO of the American Cable Association. The trick is striking the right balance.

“There must be a choice for all legal Internet content, and reasonable network management as an Internet provider,” Polka said.

Polka and the ACA are busy tracking activity in Washington. “Decisions will be made that could negatively affect local cable operators,” he said.

What else could affect the Internet? The newly defined consumer, who according to panelist and UCLA student, Corinne Crockett, is now the “new user.”

“The new users choose, create and share,” Crockett said. “The Internet is their tool.”

They also have great expectations. “They want high accessibility, free content and high interactivity to create connections with no geographic boundaries. And they want an infinite amount of media,” she said.

That media is expected to grow on the video side, in part via the transition to IPv6, said Emmendorfer, but the cable industry must decide which road to the Internet it wants to take.

“Customers want time-shifting, content on mobile devices and data combined with IP video,” he said. “We think MSOs will embrace IP video and we’re seeing a rise in unicasts, on demand content. IPv6 is coming.”

That demand, Crockett noted, will be coming from the new user. And just who is the new user? “Kids under the age of 12, where 84 percent have broadband Internet and want to be the new media creators.”

– Craig Kuhl

The Daily

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