Cable needs to claim the “fibre” brand, operators told

Cable operators need to stake their claim to the “fibre” brand, which increasingly has resonance with consumers, a panel of cable operator executives told attendees at the CTAM Europe conference in Lisbon yesterday.

With operators including UPC, Numericable and Virgin Media either branding their broadband services with variants on the “Fiber Power” tag adopted by UPC or using the word “fibre” in their marketing material, cable companies are able to challenge the appeal of fibre-to-the-home providers and telcos, delegates were told.

However, the pull of EuroDOCSIS 3.0-based very high-speed services remains limited to a minority of customers for now. Eric Forsthoefel, director of marketing communications, Europe, at UPC Broadband, said that 9% of UPC’s broadband sales next year were expected to be for services of 50Mbps or above. “The DOCSIS 2.0 platform will still drive our data business,” he said. However, use of the “Fiber Power” brand was “not about the platform – it’s about tapping into the aspirations of customers and about grabbing emotions”, he said. UPC’s strategy was not to market speeds of less than 10Mbps and to deliver “Fiber Power” in all its markets by next year.

Pascal Dormal, managing director, Belgium and director of group development at Numericable, said that the operator’s 100Mbps service now had 195,000 customers, with its fibre-to-the-building network in France now passing 3.2 million homes. He said that the network upgrade would allow Numericable to market next-generation TV services, including services such as its recently announced initiative to bring DailyMotion user-generated video to the TV.