CableLabs' McKinney: Group to lay off 27 in first-ever restructuring

Industry consortium CableLabs will lay off 27 staffers as it refocuses on what it terms "innovation projects" and "game-changing initiatives."

The layoffs were confirmed to FierceCable by CableLabs CEO Phil McKinney after he published a blog post Friday somewhat vaguely describing the restructuring. 

"The freed up headcount will be allocated to innovation where we will open a significant number of new hire positions with a range of skills sets needed for us to build out and sustain our innovation pipeline," he said. "The total funding to CableLabs is not effected. This is a reallocation of resources as we increase the priority of longer range innovation."

Asked by FierceCable which areas CableLabs will abandon and which it will increase focus on, McKinney added: "We are not revealing specific innovation projects. With that said, the innovation effort is not limited to but will include looking at all of the areas that CableLabs has historically been responsible for such as high speed data, wireless, NFV/SDN, next generation video, IoT, business services, security and many others."

Asked if CableLabs had ever embarked on a similar kind of restructuring, McKinney responded, "No. This is a major shift for CableLabs to fund the resources to create and sustain an innovation pipeline that can provide unique competitive advantage to the industry. The CableLabs board unanimously supports this increase in priority to longer range innovation."

On Friday, McKinney used the organization's blog to describe the changes that led to the restructuring. 

"Over the last three years, CableLabs has focused on recruiting top talent and getting the foundation in place," he said, touting the research and development consortium's ability to create and deliver the DOCSIS 3.1 networking standard in a three-year timeline. 

"With the work done over the last three years in addressing the fundamentals, now is the time to significantly increase the funding in innovation," he added. "The transformation we are announcing today involves prioritizing the investment in innovation projects focused on three to eight years as being of equal importance to our traditional R&D projects focused on one to three years. These longer range innovations will become the source for the R&D projects of the future."

CableLabs, McKinney said, represents 55 companies across 33 countries representing 180 million video subscribers -- a significant expansion over the 38 member companies in 17 countries it represented in 2012, when he left Hewlett-Packard to take over as CEO. 

"This global expansion has created the opportunity for single global technology standards such as DOCSIS 3.1, for the first time in the history of the cable industry."

For more:
- read this CableLabs blog post
- read this Multichannel News story

Related articles:
CableLabs certifies first round of DOCSIS 3.1 modems
CableLabs: Cable networks are foundation for 5G
CableLabs reports accelerated development of DOCSIS 3.1 gear, opens for product certification