Even better, he adds, "a 1Gbps DOCSIS solution is
approximately 12-14% of the cost of green-field
DOCSIS has been in use by cable operators around the world
for almost 20 years to deliver internet services over
networks that were designed to carry analogue TV channels.
The original specification was DOCSIS 1.0, but TDC is now
pioneering the latest implementation of the
"DOCSIS already gives 3.6Gbps and with DOCSIS 3.1 later
this year it will offer 10Gbps," says Bryder. That means
the company has a network that can support services that
are four times as fast as GPON.
TDC is unusual in having both a conventional telephone
network into customers’ homes as well as a
cable TV service. This dates back to an initiative decades
ago by the regional telephone companies that were merged in
1995 into Tele Danmark, later TDC.
Cable was popular in Denmark. The reason, as with most of
the other early centres of cable TV in Europe and North
America, was to extend choice of channels. Just as rural
Americans signed up to cable to get services from their
nearby big cities and Canadians signed up to see channels
from south of the US border, Danes wanted more
Until 1988 Denmark had just one TV channel – and
most would agree that it was dull. If you wanted more
entertainment, the cable networks brought in TV from nearby
Germany and Sweden, or other channels that were available
around Europe by satellite.
That means TDC has an extensive cable network, which gives
it the potential to deliver superfast broadband to most of
the country without the expense of installing fibre
"We are swapping out 2.7 million network components with
new technology. We have to be careful because we are
interacting with people’s TV," says Bryder.
TDC believes that it is among the first to implement DOCSIS
3.1, which is just being certified.
According to CableLabs, the US-based laboratory and
certification centre for the cable TV industry, DOCSIS 3.1
will support up to 10Gbps downstream and up to 1Gbps
upstream. In the US, Cox and Comcast are both planning to
use the new standard.
In Denmark, TDC is spending 3.7 billion kroner ($530
million) a year on IT and operations, says Bryder,
including the cable upgrade. "We own our own network. The
investment profile needs to fit into our yearly spending
without handing over ownership of the network.
I’ve seen cases where an operator hands over
ownership of part of the network, but that’s
not the case with TDC."
TDC is "one of the only operators in the world with fibre,
DSL, cable TV and mobile," he says. "We are familiar will
all four infrastructures. We have already been there for
But the company wants to be simpler, so technology is being
used only where necessary. Existing DSL will not be
upgraded with G.fast, the bonding technology that
potentially allows speeds of 1Gbps, but only on short
connections – up to 500m – from the
streetside cabinet. The company does not plan to use new
DSL technologies, says Bryder. "G.fast is not part of our
Existing fibre networks provide services to up to 10% of
homes, and they will not be replaced by coaxial cable.
They’ll be left in place – and fibre
will be the preferred technology for new-build estates,
The aim is for more than 50% of all Danes to have superfast
broadband at speeds of at least 1Gbps from the end of 2017.
The next 20% or so of the population will have more than
Outside the main centres of population, in
Denmark’s rural areas, fixed wireless can have
a role, he says – and that’s where
existing DSL will be used. Not upgraded to G.fast, but used
in conjunction with LTE wireless to deliver extra
bandwidth: "We are taking existing DSL services, and adding
4G capacity," he says.
There’s an advantage here in the fact that TDC
has 99.5% population coverage with its LTE network. "We
have two-carrier and three-carrier aggregation and we are
testing four-carrier aggregation, to achieve speeds up to
1Gbps – that makes us one of the fastest in the
Peter Trier Schleidt: With the new infrastructure,
customer is closer to the network and TDC can get
The company has already started the roll-out of fixed
gigabit services, and is aiming at 10% population coverage
by the end of 2016, says Peter Trier Schleidt, the chief
operations officer of TDC. Both Bryder and Schleidt were
speaking at Huawei’s Operations Transformation
Forum, a conference of several hundred executives that was
held in Wuzhen, China, in early November.
Huawei’s services division is
TDC’s main partner in its rebuild of its cable
network and the plan to simplify operations across the
TDC is handling the upgrade carefully, says Bryder. "We are
interacting with people’s TV services, so we
have to be careful." The upgrade should lead to cost
reductions, adds Schleidt: "There is a lot of cost involved
in running [existing] DOCSIS. The quality was not so good,
because the network had been built over decades."
The upgraded network will be decentralised, says Bryder.
"We have a very centralised architecture at the moment and
we are decentralising that. It means the customer is closer
to the network and we can get higher speeds." And a new
network means lower maintenance costs, he hopes.
TDC is proud of the fact that it is one of the pioneers of
the latest version of DOCSIS technology. The
operator’s chief procurement officer, Mohammad
Asim, says: "Huawei is a credible partner, very reliable.
It has focused on the partnership. Trust is the key
TDC’s marketing strategy is being changed
along with the technology upgrade. "We are simplifying the
brands," says Schleidt. "We have a huge amount of legacy
products that we’re still selling. We want to
get rid of them. We are consolidating and
All of TDC’s consumer offerings –
cable, mobile, DSL and fibre – will be put into
one brand "to make it simpler for our customers". The
services will be brought under the YouSee brand, which it
introduced for the cable offering in 2007.
Unlike many operators, TDC is not planning to start
creating its own programmes. "That’s not part
of our strategy," says Schleidt. "We are trying to
aggregate TV content from companies such as Netflix and HBO
to ensure we have all the TV built into our solution. We
have very much an aggregator role. Video and entertainment
is at the core."
The relationship with Huawei is close, says Bryder.
"It’s a question of getting the right
perspective. The tradition in telecoms for many years has
been selling boxes, but that doesn’t create
joint incentives," he says. "It comes down to this: if
customers are not satisfied with our services they will not
How customers experience TDC’s network is
built into the company’s managed services deal
with Huawei, he says. Measurements are "from an end-user
perspective, not in the network. We have created incentives
round that – and not only financially."
Some of this is to do with speeding up the delivery time of
services. "When you order a TV package, when do you expect
it to be delivered?" asks Schleidt. "Five days later? No, I
would expect to be able to use a phone for the service
right away, and then to collect a set-top box the same
That’s a lot faster than the traditional
approach, which requires customers to sit around at home
for the installation team to arrive – or not.
It’s not the technology and the IT
that’s the toughest part of this, he adds.
"It’s the culture."