An amazing success of the XXIV Cable and Broadband Catalonia Congress

“The interactivity of HbbTV, especially in advertising applications, and augmented and virtual reality are examples of communication that will require a guaranteed broadband flow,” says Dr. Joan Francesc Fondevila Gascón, director of the Cable Studies Center  (CECABLE) and professor at the Ramon Llull University (URL), as a conclusion to the XXIV Cable and Broadband Catalonia Congress, which took place on April 9 and 10, 2019 with great success of the public and contents in the Auditorium Blanquerna de Barcelona organized by CECABLE, Blanquerna-URL, Catalan Association of Telecommunications Operators by Cable (Acotec) and Official Association of Technical Telecommunications Engineers of Catalonia (COETTC).

“There is an accentuation in the need for guaranteed broadband as the services offered to the consumer are more personalized and synchronous,” explains Fondevila. “In the case of HbbTV, the addressable TV supposes personalized advertisements based on households and users, which requires a constant flow and without interruptions, especially if the customer interacts with the brand”, explains the CECABLE director. “In reality augmented and virtual, if you want to generalize an online experience, you also need guaranteed broadband,” says Fondevila.

The conference studied strategic indicators of telecommunications, such as the foundations in the evolution of broadband technology, the relationship between content and receiver and the new market standards. Joan Oliver (Wifidom) reflected the advantages of wireless solutions especially for rural areas. Dídac Querol (Telefónica) remarked that Spain’s “is the most extensive fiber optic network in Europe”, and emphasized the operator’s desire to cover the entire territory with fiber optics to the home (FTTH) in 2024. Narcís Coll (BT) remarked that the balance between computing and storage fluctuates between the edge (the closest method), the fog and the cloud (the furthest). David Andreu (Anxanet) stressed the importance of broadband and “the opportunity of virtual fiber” in industrial and tourist areas, while Ramon Roca (Guifi.net) said that reaching rural areas with fiber “is not as expensive as It seems”. Ignacio Rojo (Phicus) reviewed the advantages of specific monitoring software for operators, Eduardo Meilán (RegionTel) the need for end-to-end projects and Anselmo Trejo (D-Link) the growth of 10 Gigabit Ethernet networks.

The HbbTV will allow advertising to be “more dirigible, interactive and varied”, according to Guillem Lahuerta (Sony). Xavi Redón (Cellnex) explained that the challenges of LovesTV are focused on improving the functionalities of the platform, having more compatible television models and creating new interactive environments outside of linear television in LovesTV. The round table showed the strength of the HbbTV. In this sense, we must distinguish between programatic TV and addressable TV, since the programmatic TV focuses on the automation of processes between advertisers, media agencies and media, and the addressable TV distributes in real time, “which sharpens the the need for a guaranteed flow of data”, adds Fondevila, for whom “the axioms of the Broadband Society, universalization and the guarantee of the service, are ideally applied in HbbTV, an opportunity for interactivity in proximity, especially for the traditional cable operators”. Josep Rom (IntadTV) highlights the new possibilities of connected television “to maintain the link between advertising and television”, and Xavier Edo (Acotec) affirms that “linear television is used less and less and alternative platforms are growing”.

Xavier Martín (CEBF, Connecting Europe Broadband Fund) explained the need for funds for the expansion of broadband. The fund promoted by the European Commission to support digital entrepreneurs in the development of ultra-broadband networks has 420 million Euros for investment in the development of new neutral networks. This fund is one of the instruments created under the “Juncker Plan” for the development of the European strategy to promote the Gigabit Society through the construction of fiber networks that reach all corners of Europe. “The big national and regional operators are as relevant as the more than 700 local operators currently operating in Spain,” according to Martín. Despite the great penetration of fiber networks in Spain, there are still more than four million uncovered households (geographical areas that are challenging due to their orography, geographical dispersion or disposable income).

The round table reflected the evolution in the competition in Catalonia and Spain in broadband, although this can be improved. Fondevila stressed that “depending on geographical areas, competition varies, although to differentiate between them and avoid the commodity effect, operators can play the guaranteed service charter.” Carles Salvadó (Generalitat de Catalunya) indicated that “78% of Catalans can access the Internet at least 30 Mbps, but 1.7 million Catalans do not reach that minimum speed”. Guillermo Canal (Feceminte) stressed that “many installers are acting as operators”. Carles Sabaté (Telecos.cat) considered that “current competition is not the most appropriate”. Virginia Rodríguez (CNMC) admitted that “competition is not perfect, because in that case the regulator would not exist, although the market is very dynamic”. Carles Viladecans (Xarxa Oberta de Catalunya) remarked that many operators are connected to its neutral network, which “opens the way to more competition”.

The event is part of the project “New Forms of Interactive Advertising in Television, Internet and Digital Media. Real Applications on HbbTV “(URL, Cellnex, CECABLE and IntadTV), funded by the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness. In addition to the URL, the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF), the Mediterrani University School of the University of Girona, the University of Barcelona, ​​the Autonomous University of Barcelona, ​​the Open University of Catalonia and the Camilo José Cela University collaborated in the Conference. EAE Business School, Cesine University Center, Euncet and the Polytechnic University of Catalonia.

In addition to the universities and Acotec, the Generalitat de Catalunya, the Barcelona Marketing Club, the Graduate Engineers’ College and the Industrial Technical Engineers of Barcelona (CETIB), the Catalan Association of Telecommunications Engineers (Telecos.cat), the College participate and collaborate of Technical Engineering and Degree in Computer Engineering of Catalonia (COETIC), GrausTIC, National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC), Catalan Federation of Installers of Telecommunications (Feceminte), Federation Coordinator of Telecommunications (FECOTEL), National Federation of Installations Businessmen of Spain (Fenie), National Federation of Installers and Telecommunications Integrators (FENITEL), Barcelona Digital Technology Center, TIC.CAT, Red.es, Localret, National Association of Telecommunications Operators and Internet Services (AOTEC), National Association of Internet Companies (ANEI), Association for the Progress of the Directorate (APD), Catalan Association of Technology (ACTec), Association of Computer Technicians (ATI), Association of Operative Companies and Telecommunications Services (Astel), CTecno, Technological Park of the Vallés (PTV), National Reference Center of Information Technology and Communication ICT (CENATIC), Ilimit, e-deon, Dopuo , International Association of Technology, Education and Development (IATED), Plataforma FOTÓNICA21 or Catalan Society of Technology.