Big market opportunity
And it's a potentially major opportunity for Broadcom and its C-Docsis partners. Infonetics Research Inc. analyst Jeff Heynen estimates that the Chinese cable market represents between 190 million to 200 million subscribers, with about half of that footprint still one-way. C-Docsis gets Broadcom "to a point where they can reach price points that make Docsis deployable in the Chinese market," he says.
Cost issues were causing regular Docsis to sputter out in China, says Bahm, who estimates that about 4 million Docsis modems have been deployed in the country so far.
For now, Broadcom is the only supplier of C-Docsis silicon, though it expects other companies to join in. Broadcom has already lined up several Chinese vendors to make the CMCs, including ZTE Corp., Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., Lancable Technology Ltd., UTStarcom Telecom Co. Ltd and Sumavision Technologies Co. Ltd., a supplier that's pitching a miniaturized, China-focused CMTS called the CC8800 that is capable of bonding 16 downstream channels and four upstream channels. Any Docsis-certified modem will do.
The largest Chinese cable operator deploying C-Docsis today is Wasu Digital TV Media Group, an operator based in Hangzhou with more than 1.8 million cable TV subs.
"We also have several field trials going on with our Chinese system customers," Bahm says. "It's not PowerPoint; it's not coming; it's all here now."
But there's still some opportunities in China for regular Docsis, though it's difficult to determine how big that opportunity is. Casa Systems Inc., for example, has made some headway with Chinese cable operators, and recently introduced a mini Docsis 3.0 CMTS designed for MDUs. (See Casa Shrinks Docsis 3.0 CMTS, Casa Downsizes the CMTS , Casa Wins CMTS Deal in China and China MSO Taps Casa's CMTS.)
And there's some risk for the vendors, even in a cable broadband market as untapped as China. Success of each of the different access technologies available in China will hinge on how operators make their selections and how the MSOs end up consolidating, Bahm says.
â€” Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable