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 Communications 01.07.2016 10:06:51
CABLE CONGRESS / Cable industry looks to the future, with huge opportunities ahead
Warsaw, (Poland) (CABLE EUROPE) / 30 June 2016 / On the final day of Cable Congress in Warsaw, a number of CEOs in the cable industry gathered to consider future trends, all agreeing that the future of cable in Europe is extremely positive.

Eric Tveter, CEO Central Europe Group at Liberty Global, began the day by saying he feels “very bullish and excited about the industry. So many times it was predicted our industry would be disrupted into oblivion, yet we are here and strong. We had to reinvent ourselves every time. We provide great, ever evolving services. Most importantly, we have the strongest network.

Adapt or die is the mantra and we’ve done that. TV everywhere is a reality now and our industry is very poised to achieve that.”

Severina Pascu, CEO CEE at Liberty Global, is “very optimistic” about the growth potential in the region. “Our Horizon platform and high speed capacity are a strong building block allowing us to grow our core business. B2B and mobile are also great opportunities.” Pascu believes the company’s success depends on its ability to understand consumers as well as the industry environment. “At Liberty Global we are true believers in bundle” said Pascu. “Our customers want to be connected everywhere and access all content on any device. That’s why I see mobile as an enabler for mobility.”

The company sees fixed-mobile convergence as a clear trend, and will follow increasing demand for similar solutions. But Pascu said she doesn’t think Liberty will acquire a mobile network operator (MNO). Good economics with operators are enough to deliver an efficient service, she said. Technology is moving towards increasingly fast connection, but Liberty is committed to ensuring first of all that such speed is reliable for all households.

Frans-Willem de Kloet, the new CEO of UPC Poland, noted the company is the biggest cable operator in the country while only having a 20% cable footprint – probably the lowest in the Liberty family. De Kloet sees this as a challenge, but also an opportunity, saying “there are 500 cable operators in Poland and we think this situation is not sustainable. We need more scale to bring innovation to customers.

The game here is scale, and that’s the ambition for Poland.” UPC Poland plans to add 2 million homes to the 3 million it reaches today. Consolidation and acquisitions are on the radar, but the company is also looking to work with partners to get access to customers through their networks.

In other sessions, Gareth Mead, formerly at Virgin Media and now Head of Communications EMEA at Uber, reflected on the Cable industry from his new perspective, saying “The sector is living a transformational phase and the growth of broadband speed is particularly exciting.

Its ability to stimulate economic growth is incredible.” Mead also shared lessons that Cable companies could learn from Uber’s own communications challenges: “With 5 million trips a day we have 5 million chances to screw up. Great quality of service and consumer trust are a key asset for the company. Controversy is in Uber’s DNA, but we can’t let it erode consumer trust”. In this context, continuous communications with customers is also necessary to be able to mobilise supporters and generate advocacy when needed.

Earlier in the day, Cable Europe Executive Chairman Matthias Kurth and Managing Director Caroline van Weede presented the Cable Europe Fellow Award, which acknowledges the remarkable contribution of industry figures who deliver excellence and embody the characteristics required to create a flourishing future for cable in Europe. This year’s winner is Fernando Vela, HFC Network Engineering Manager at Vodafone Ono. Fernando has more than 20 years of experience in Telecoms and IT at companies like Alcatel, Retevision, Auna, ONO and Vodafone. He was selected by Cable Europe’s Executive Committee.

Cable Congress 2016 has been taking place in Warsaw from Tuesday 28 June until Thursday 30 June. The opening day focused on disruption, the second on innovation whilst today – day 3 – focused on action. Please visit www.cablecongress.com for the latest updates, talk to us on Twitter via @CableEurope, and follow the conversation live using #cablecongress.


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