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Cox Gives Wideband a 'PowerBoost'

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner

WASHINGTON -- The Cable Show -- Cox Communications Inc. is advertising downstream broadband speeds of up to 50 Mbit/s in its first Docsis 3.0-enabled market, but that could be enhanced a further 10 percent by the MSO's decision to combine "PowerBoost" capabilities with the new wideband technology.

PowerBoost, a technique that gives cable modem customers automatic speed bursts when there's extra capacity available on the network, could push Cox's downstream speeds to about 55 Mbit/s temporarily, according to senior VP of technology architecture, Jay Rolls.

Cox introduced wideband in Lafayette, La., this week, and intends to deploy Docsis 3.0 in two-thirds of its footprint by sometime next year. (See Cox Unleashes Wideband.)

Cox is the first MSO to announce any intentions of combining PowerBoost technology with Docsis 3.0. It already applies PowerBoost to some existing single-channel Docsis tiers, giving those customers temporary speed bursts of up to 33 percent above the advertised mark when network conditions are optimal.

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), which already has about 35 percent of its network Docsis 3.0-enabled, has so far opted not to use the patented PowerBoost technology with its 50 Mbit/s "Extreme" high-speed Internet service tier. (See Comcast Widens Wideband Footprint and Comcast Sets Wideband Goal .)

Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) and Bright House Networks are among other MSOs that use PowerBoost, but have not said whether they intend to match it up with their upcoming wideband tiers. (See Bright House Ups 'PowerBoost'.)

Among other Docsis 3.0 launch details, Cox is getting the service off the ground in Lafayette with cable modems and cable modem termination system (CMTS) gear from Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO). Cox intends to use equipment from its other major Docsis vendor, Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), as it launches wideband services in other markets.

For more details about Cox's initial deployment of Docsis 3.0 and when it expects upstream channel bonding to enter the picture, check out our interview with J-Rolls from this week's cable confab.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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