Liberty CTO Nair: 5G a ‘game changer,’ but not a wireline replacement

AMSTERDAM — Liberty Global CTO Balan Nair said 5G will be a “game-changer” in its superior ability to transfer data, but the technology will not replace fixed-network broadband services anytime soon. 

“The economics just aren’t there,” Nair said on a Friday panel full of media and telecom CTOs at the IBC Show. “You’re talking about buying hundreds of towers and all of that spectrum. And on the residential end, putting a device outside the window and wiring it back into the home. It’s a question of business model and if you plan on making any money. The economics benefit fixed.”

Nair’s comments on 5G were part of a wide-ranging discussion, during which the top engineer for the top European cable company also addressed the issue of whether large telecom and media outfits should build their own cloud infrastructure. Nair’s response was an emphatic “no.”


Like this story? Subscribe to FierceVideo!

The Video industry is an ever-changing world where big ideas come along daily. Cable, Media and Entertainment, Telco, and Tech companies rely on FierceVideo for the latest news, trends, and analysis on video creation and distribution, OTT delivery technologies, content licensing, and advertising strategies. Sign up today to get news and updates delivered to your inbox and read on the go.

To Nair’s thinking, no matter how much Liberty invested in its own cloud infrastructure, it could never match leading cloud services vendors Amazon Web Services, Google and Microsoft. 

“No matter how good you are, you’re never going to be as good as those guys,” Nair said. “They’ve already built amazing operational structures with all the operational metrics you’d ever want.

Also, addressing the issue of artificial intelligence, Nair said that 15% of Liberty Global’s network resources go to managing AI for functions like voice remotes. He predicted that allocation would rise to 50% within five years. 

“AI is much more than a buzzword, and we’re looking at how we can deploy it more widely,” concurred Latha Maripuri, deputy CTO for News Corp., who said the media company its now heavily using the technology for advanced advertising. 

Suggested Articles

Disney+ finally made its debut this week and now it’s a whole new world for streaming services in the U.S.

The wide proliferation of different streaming services has led to a rebundling trend that Apple could soon follow.

Thanks largely to a drastic video subscriber drop off at AT&T, traditional pay TV providers lost close to 2 million subscribers combined in Q3.