Comcast Corp. has wrapped up its initial deployment of Docsis 3.0, the platform cable operators are tapping into to deliver speed bursts of 100Mbit/s or more while also forming the foundation of an IP video platform.
The rollout is "completed," Comcast CFO and Vice Chairman Michael Angelakis told the audience at Citigroup investor's conference on Thursday in San Francisco. It's unclear if he meant that 100 percent of the MSO's footprint is now truly D3-ready, or if there are still some small pockets that haven't made the leap to wideband.
The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) estimated last fall that U.S. cable operators would have D3 deployed to 77 percent of the nation's households by the end of 2011. Comcast alone passes 52.38 million homes and businesses. (See The State of Docsis 3.0.)
Comcast has rolled out D3 at a steady pace ever since it debuted wideband services in April 2008 in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn., and its highest-end cable modem speed tiers currently tops out at 105Mbit/s downstream. Comcast has not revealed how many of its 17.81 million high-speed Internet customers subscribe to a D3 tier. Comcast also sells wideband data services to business customers. (See Comcast Enters the Wideband Era .)
While big speeds have grabbed most of the Docsis 3.0 headlines in recent years as MSOs grapple with fiber-to-the-home competition, the technology is also expected to help underpin cable's move to IP video. CableLabs, for example, has been working on ways to optimize D3 for video, including improvements in the way that IP multicast works in the wideband environment so one video stream can be received by multiple destinations -- akin to the way switched digital video (SDV) handles linear video streams in the QAM video world today. (See Docsis 3.0 Tackles Linear IP Video.)
It looks like most of Comcast's markets should have access to spectrum that can be applied toward Docsis 3.0 channel-bonding or toward capacity for more HDTV channels and video-on-demand streams. Angelakis said the deployment of Project Cavalry, Comcast's big analog reclamation initiative, is "pretty much complete." (See Comcast's $1B Bandwidth Plan .)
Comcast has already deployed millions of standard-definition Digital Terminal Adapter (DTA) devices to spur that project along, and evidence is mounting that Comcast is getting close to deploying a new class of DTA that can support hi-def video signals. (See Comcast HD-DTAs Reach the FCC.)
â€” Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable