Light Reading

Cox Lays Out Gigabit Roadmap

Mari Silbey
5/23/2014
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Following up on its announcement at The Cable Show last month, Cox Communications is now offering more detail on the company's pending rollout of gigabit broadband services throughout its territories. (See Cox Goes for a Gigabit .)

Cox Communications Inc. is targeting Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Omaha as its first new gigabit markets and plans to begin deployments across its entire footprint by the end of 2016. In addition to residential home service, the company will offer gigabit connectivity to select condominiums and apartments and will expand WiFi service both in common areas of those multi-dwelling units (MDU) and in public locations across the Phoenix and Las Vegas metro areas.

The announcement by Cox, the first major North American MSO to make a 1-Gig commitment throughout its footprint, follows a recent pattern of competitive announcements from broadband service providers. Typically, one operator introduces or says it will explore delivery of higher broadband speeds, and then other local providers rapidly follow suit. In February, for instance, Google Fiber Inc. said it would look at expanding fiber service to 34 new cities, including Phoenix, where it will compete against Cox for the first time. (See Google Fiber Shifts Into High Gear.)

At the same time, CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL) began offering gigabit service in Las Vegas last fall and in Omaha last May, putting Cox on the hot seat in those two markets as well.

This isn't Cox's first venture into gigabit broadband service. In addition to providing gigabit connections to commercial customers, the operator started a fiber-to-the-home trial service in Orange County, Calif. last year. For the company's upcoming deployments, a spokesperson noted that Cox hasn't yet specified which technologies it will use, but said that it will rely on portions of Cox's existing network in addition to newer fiber infrastructure.

While most Cox customers won't get gigabit broadband service immediately, the cable company said it will double speeds on its two most popular Internet service tiers -- Preferred and Premium -- this year, raising the maximum downstream speeds of those tiers to 50 Mbit/s and 100 Mbit/s, respectively.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

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Mitch Wagner
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Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
6/3/2014 | 5:45:52 PM
Re: 1 Gbps
Latency gets me more than bandwidth. It's not that the page takes time to load. It's that it takes time to even start loading. 
pcharles09
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pcharles09,
User Rank: Light Beer
5/29/2014 | 9:07:33 PM
Re: 1 Gbps
Not to mention that the Google reach now expands to a whole different user base than their search & free service users. I must give them credit for not getting comfortable.
MarkC73
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MarkC73,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/29/2014 | 8:21:52 PM
Re: 1 Gbps
The other thing I think Google has to gain in doing some of provider based access itself, is that it becomes a great trial after beta environment, where they can see how their services, offerings and applications behave in a complete Google controled environment but with real customers.  Still I like that they are planning on expanding beyond the initial deployment.
dwx
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dwx,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/29/2014 | 7:45:54 PM
Re: 1 Gbps
I think the speeds will be more important when people move to all-IP delivery for everything over the big dumb pipe  You might have 4K video streaming to 3-4 devices in your house at the same time.  Advances like H.265 will cut down on video bandwidth quite a bit from where it is now for all services, so once it becomes de-facto we may see a decrease in current HD bandwidth used overall, but 4K (or 8K?) will have wider adoption.  

I think most services like PVR will exist in the cloud in the future as well.  Cutting down the cost of a STB is key so making it as dumb as possible is the wave of the future with most advanced services and storage, etc. being remote.  

I still don't know what you would use a symmetric 1Gbps service for though, you can easily do all of the above on a 100Mbps connection.  

Google has been smart in their builds like they always are, get municipalities and utilities, etc. to foot as much of the bills as possible, work out great contracts, etc.  They also only target areas with demand, unlike a cable/telco who blankets an entire area.  I know someone in KC who can't get their service because not enough people in his neighborhood want it.   Even then I don't think they are making any money off it.  
MarkC73
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MarkC73,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/29/2014 | 2:53:23 PM
Re: 1 Gbps
Agreed, Especially the high end fiber, at some point you'll see the patterens stop increasing due to top end speed.  Meaning that the difference on the average user on a 100M line vs 300M line really won't be much because most users can't ingest that much content, ie the internet is slowing them down.  I've got 50M down and I'm happy at the moment.

Over time the average usage will go up as people's usage demands more and more bandwidth.

Lastly, bandwidth end to end is part of the equation, there's also stuff like latency.
Mitch Wagner
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Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/29/2014 | 2:02:47 PM
Re: 1 Gbps
NotFromNebraska - Alas, my networking skills are such that I don't even understand those questions.... :)
Mitch Wagner
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Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/29/2014 | 2:00:19 PM
Re: 1 Gbps
Better video performance would be welcome. 

So maybe very few consumers need 1 G now, but they'd be able to use 100 Mb today and find more uses for more bandwidth another day. 
NotFromNebraska
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NotFromNebraska,
User Rank: Light Beer
5/28/2014 | 4:05:37 PM
Re: 1 Gbps
Currently getting 32 Mb

 
  • Do you have a DOCIS 3.0 modem?
  • How many bonded channels on your cable modem?
Mitch Wagner
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Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/28/2014 | 3:53:09 PM
Re: 1 Gbps
NotFromNebraska - I use Cox too, and my service level is advertised as 50 Mb. 

Currently getting 32 Mb, which isn't bad. 

I cycled the power on my AirPort Monday; I wonder if that has anything to do with my bandwidth being better now than it has been recently?
MarkC73
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MarkC73,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/28/2014 | 3:26:13 PM
Re: 1 Gbps
3D and 4k streaming, or anything that requires larger bandwidth peak rates.  Holograms that wake you up and tell you about your calendar and take notes from you, 3D printer files for stream to order.  I'm sure the guys at google are thinking up some neat stuff.  We don't do Video over ISDN because noone will wait for it.  As the applications grow the need will grow along with it.  Even if you can't use the whole GigE with today's content, it pushes the average up as well.  Remember the days we used to think 1.5M was fast?  and we used to use download managers to pause our modems?  Now we sigh when we see buffering on an HD video.

Granted lots sounds like science fiction, but the next great thing somes do.
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