Liberty Global dives into DAA with Vecima, Vector

fiber optic strands
The announcement marks Vecima's first Tier-1 deployment for DAA in Europe. (planet_fox from Pixabay)

Distributed access architecture (DAA) gained another major backer as European broadband giant Liberty Global moved to leverage the technology for a multi-gigabit boost with help from Vector Technologies and Vecima Networks.

Liberty Global is set to use Vecima and Vector’s jointly developed DAA solution, which incorporates the former’s remote PHY device into the latter’s compact node enclosure. Deployments across its network are expected to follow field trials in Western and Central Europe later this year.

The operator currently serves more than 19 million homes with gigabit speeds. It noted in a press release the DAA push will put it on the “path to delivering 10 Gbps connectivity throughout” its European footprint.

Jeffrey White, Vecima’s SVP of Cable Strategy, told Fierce the announcement marks “our first Tier-1 deployment for DAA in Europe.” He added, “From my perspective it definitely signals a movement toward deployment of DAA.”

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White explained DAA solves two key problems for operators. First, it eliminates “enormous” equipment and power requirements in the headend by pushing processing to the neighborhood. Second, it improves signal fidelity by converting an analog RF signal to a digital IP signal, which he said increases capacity and can lead to improved customer satisfaction and fewer truck rolls to deal with complaints.

In a statement, Liberty Global VP of Access Network Strategy Seamus Gallagher noted the move will also help it “avoid vendor lock in” and enable support for “multi-vendor interoperability.”

Though DAA has been in the works for some time, deployments to date have been limited.  A notable outlier is Comcast, which has been working with DAA for several years.

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But White said the technology may finally be turning the corner to mainstream adoption. “You’re starting to see a lot of these companies that have been assessing DAA for a long time make vendor selections and put in place deployment plans, and Liberty is a great example of that,” he said.

“We were always looking for a corner case, a specific application where we could go in and say for this specific application DAA is a great thing to solve problem XYZ,” White continued. “As opposed to a technology that would be dropped in surgically to solve a problem, it’s become sort of a transformational technology, it’s the next generation of technology. I think that that slowed things down a little bit historically. We’ve finally hit the knee in the curve where devices on the network are full. They don’t want to make investments in old technology. DAA has matured as a technology, and so cable operators are making that transition.”

He concluded, “I believe you’ll start seeing generally a lot more DAA deployments and news about DAA deployments” going forward."