There’s a lot at stake for cable companies, with the rising popularity of Over-the-Top (OTT) services leading the charge.

Fiber deep is the trend in which MSOs push fiber ever closer to customers to provide them with better service.

As consumer behavior shifts from typical linear video to on-demand offerings, Internet services have increased in importance. As a result, MSOs can’t tolerate service disruptions or quality issues. But aging coaxial plant, analog repeaters, and dependence on the power grid make meeting customer demand for fast and reliable service a challenge.

In addition to adoption virtualization technologies and following trends like Head Ends Re-Architected as a Data Center (HERD), which is the adaptation of the telco Central Office Re-Architected as a Data Center (CORD) initiative for the MSO market, cable companies are trying to simplify operations by driving digital technologies closer to subscribers.

This effort is called fiber deep, and is a large part of the next generation of cable—one that  pushes fiber close to the end-user and yields a better customer experience through better service.

By driving fiber deeper, MSOs can further improve performance: Deep fiber eliminates amplifiers and pushes the optical-to-electrical conversion closer to subscribers, which increases potential bandwidth to homes and cuts power and maintenance costs.

At the end of the day, cable providers have one of the best Internet service products in the market. Their rich pedigree of content ownership and delivery experience makes them well-suited to deliver the best user experience in the business. It’s the nature of MSO architecture that provides a distinct advantage, all because the network and assets are relatively close to the user, not miles away in a large data center. In addition, MSOs have a high-speed network connected all the way to the users, which is a distinct advantage over the telcos.

The new Internet norm is responsiveness and quality of experience. The cable head end will transform into a data center and MSOs need fiber deep to transform once again to scale and unburden themselves from legacy radio frequency technologies. Coax won’t go away, but there will be less strung between poles.

Netflix is the poster child for OTT and provides a glimpse into the future of cable. The company reimagined content distribution—investing in a home-grown content delivery network to provide quality of experience and real-time responsiveness. Cable should take a lesson from Netflix by developing the best platform for moving OTT content and managing the customer experience down to the individual user, with improved latency. With the know-how to deliver video, MSOs can reinvent the Internet and be the best broadband service provider for years to come.

Ciena’s portfolio of products helps MSOs push fiber closer to the subscribers.

The 8700 Packetwave® Platform—a multi-terabit programmable Ethernet-over-DWDM packet switch—addresses the growing need to efficiently aggregate and switch large quantities of packet traffic while guaranteeing stringent Service Level Agreements (SLAs). The 8700 revolutionizes the capital and operational economics of 10GbE and 100GbE services in metro and regional Ethernet networks.

Built from the ground up to be fully programmable, the 8700 enables metro network operators to migrate existing static networks to dynamic, on-demand networks. Used in conjunction with Ciena’s Blue Planet V-WAN software, the 8700 provides a smooth migration path toward a fully open SDN architecture that enables performance-on-demand connectivity. The 8700 has been recognized by BTR Diamond Technology Review with five diamonds. In addition, the platform was 2016’s Diamond Technology Review Innovation Award Winner.

In addition, Ciena’s Waveserver® enables faster web-scale expansion. The stackable interconnect system and ease of use allow the addition of multiple terabits of capacity in minutes. Plus, Ciena’s 6500 family, which can be tuned to handle traffic that would buckle most systems, also reduces hubs, which brings content close to the user.

Wayne Hickey, What is Fiber Deep?