Battle of the Network CTOs?

Actually, the discourse between Mark, Chris Rice and Pieter Poll of Verizon, AT&T and Qwest, respectively, was quite civil, although the approaches each of these companies is taking to providing video and deploying their networks are quite different. A common theme of Wegleitner and Rice was that service is past launch and it is about executing and building upon the video platforms they already have. Rice suggested that many of the technical issues are beyond them and now it is about internal cultural issues and ensuring that they train enough technicians fast enough to meet demand.     

Poll suggested that Qwest is betting on the Internet for delivery of video, although he indicated that Qwest has a great relationship with DirecTV for video. He pointed out that young people are less interested in linear television and want on-demand content. Qwest has focused on Metro Ethernet and ensuring Quality of Service, so that they can do a better job of delivering over-the-top video. Similarly, Wegleitner acknowledged the challenge of the backbone and mentioned what they are doing with the Distributed Computing Industry Association (DCIA) to use peer to peer technology to make for more efficient network. 

All three speakers stressed the importance of being able to manage bandwidth and devices in the home. The home network was termed, “the final frontier,” by Chris Rice. According to Wegleitner, Verizon has 3.7 million CPE under management today. Poll said that TR 69 is a start as far as remote management. Poll suggested that the future is the interaction of smart home networking with a smart network. According to Poll, telcos need to take advantage of their position as trusted entity, if they are going to be successful in the home network. 

Rice pointed out that home networking also has potential for reducing energy consumption by enabling new efficiency through remote control of appliances, etc. AT&T is pushing for Uverse to be the first energy-star rated communications service, while Verizon has a goal of 20% improvement in energy efficiency in their equipment. Along these lines, Poll indicated that thin-client, “cloud computing” uses less energy than a traditional PC on every desk. 

In the end, these three technologists had more in common than not in terms of what the challenges and opportunities are. Interestingly, the networks they are deploying to meet those opportunities continue to grow further apart. 

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