Howard Pfeffer, Senior VP, Broadband Engineering & Technology, Time Warner Cable
Engineering Time Warner Cable's broadband's future
By George Winslow -- Broadcasting & Cable, 6/27/2011 12:01:00 AMClick here to read more Next Wave of Leaders
Howard Pfeffer is one of those rare engineers who is both a ! rst generation leader in new technologies as well as a next generation one.
After working on early cable modem trials in the 1990s that led to Time Warner Cable’s first high-speed Internet service deployments, Pfeffer is now overseeing engineering teams working on next generation broadband technologies that are likely to usher in even bigger changes in the cable industry.
Pfeffer got the technology bug early on from his father, who was an engineer; his love of music inspired him to take apart and rebuild amplifiers. After graduating from SUNY-Stony Brook with a degree in electrical engineering in 1984, he landed in the fledgling online industry in 1989 as a software engineer for the Prodigy Online service, where he worked on some early cable modem trials.
That expertise led him to Time Warner in 1995, where he was one of the original members of Time Warner Cable’s pioneering cable modem efforts. “Originally, there were just four or five of us,” he recalls.
But those efforts, which also lay the foundation for the cable industry’s highly profitable move into phone service, have transformed the cable business, with broadband and voice accounting for more than 40% of Time Warner Cable’s subscription revenues in the first quarter of 2011.
That success also propelled Pfeffer up the ladder at Time Warner Cable. Earlier this year, he was promoted to senior VP of broadband engineering and technology, where he now oversees all of the MSO’s residential and commercial high-speed data and voice services, as well as its emerging converged IP offerings.
Here, Pfeffer and his team’s work on Time Warner Cable’s broadband network to increase speed and reliability is playing a crucial role in the MSO’s ability to deliver more video, at higher resolutions, into the home over the Internet.
More fundamentally, those efforts are also part of a larger move by cable operators to expand the use of their IP infrastructure, with engineers from the video side of Time Warner Cable using some of the IP technologies deployed by Pfeffer’s engineers so they can deliver more personalized content to iPads, smartphones and other IP connected devices.
“In general the industry is moving toward more userbased, user-centric services,” Pfeffer says. “TV Everywhere is a good example of that trend, where you are delivering a video experience to a specific user of a specific device.”
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