Comcast is coming in from the cold with today's announcement that it's the first cable operator to join open source projects Open Network Operating System (ONOS) and Central Office Re-architected as a Datacenter (CORD).
North American cable operators have traditionally operated in a vacuum with the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) handling standards while Cable Television Laboratories Inc. (CableLabs) focuses on new technologies and specifications.
Staying somewhat true to its secretive colors, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) declined to comment on what it hopes to achieve by joining CORD and ONOS, although the former would appear to be more attractive in the near term.
Comcast has worked with ONOS and CORD, both of which are backed by ON.Lab and the Linux Foundation
, in the past before becoming an official member. Comcast had a presence at the Open Networking Summit last spring, sending speakers and attendees to the event, as well as attending the first CORD Summit that Google hosted this past summer. (See CORD Becomes New Open Source Project.)
Comcast has also worked with other open source groups over the years, including investing in OpenStack four years ago as a member of the OpenStack Foundation. (See OpenStack Underpins Comcast Elastic Cloud and Comcast & OpenStack by the Numbers.)
By joining ONOS and CORD, Comcast will be participating side-by-side with rivals AT&T and Verizon, as well as SK Telecom, Google, China Unicom, and NTT Communications. Comcast has crossed paths with competitors in other open source communities, but the degree of cooperation may need to ratchet up now that it's a full member of CORD and ONOS.
Comcast forked out $250,000 apiece to join ONOS and CORD, which is the standard amount for both.
"Software defined networking and network functions virtualization are powerful, fast-evolving tools for network transformation," said Dr. Nagesh Nandiraju, director of network architecture at Comcast, in a statement. "We look forward to bringing our perspective and experience to the fantastic community of technologists already working on these open source projects."
At a Light Reading cable event in Denver earlier this year, Nandiraju spoke about how cable was addressing SDN and virtualization. (See SDN's Second Act: What It Means for Cable.)
— Mike Robuck, Editor, Telco Transformation