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Cable Tech

Cox sets path to '10G'

Cox Communications is the latest US cable operator to formally announce a commitment to "10G," the cable industry's initiative focused on delivering symmetrical 10-Gig speeds over multiple types of access networks, including hybrid fiber/coax (HFC), fiber-to-the-premises and wireless.

The privately held operator said it will make a "multibillion-dollar annual infrastructure investment over the next several years to build a 10-Gigabit-capable, fiber-based network."

Cox will travel down the 10G path using both DOCSIS 4.0 and FTTP. 
 
(Source: Kristoffer Tripplaar / Alamy Stock Photo)
Cox will travel down the 10G path using both DOCSIS 4.0 and FTTP.
(Source: Kristoffer Tripplaar / Alamy Stock Photo)

Cox, which estimates it has invested more than $19 billion in network and product upgrades over the past decade, stressed it will deliver on that plan through a mix of upgrades to DOCSIS 4.0 on HFC and deployments of FTTP. The company has previously made some FTTP headway under a "Gigablast" initiative focused on extending 1-Gig capabilities across the bulk of its footprint.

Cox declined to say what percentage of its network will head down the road of D4.0 or all-fiber, but did note that its current investment commitment includes bringing broadband to underserved communities. Cox came away with a small piece of the first phase of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction – about $6.63 million for 8,212 locations in nine states.

As a private company, Cox does not publicize financial data, but the company has in the neighborhood of 6 million residential broadband customers, and nearly 7 million when business customers are included. A company official tells Light Reading that Cox continues to grow total customers, with nearly all new customers taking broadband.

A vote for DOCSIS 4.0

Although it's not clear how much of Cox's coming infrastructure investment will be earmarked for DOCSIS 4.0, it's an indicator that the operator does intend to deploy the technology. D4 is currently designed to support download speeds up to of 10 Gbit/s and upstream speeds up to 6 Gbit/s paired with enhanced security and low-latency capabilities.

Such commitments are notable as it's clear that not all operators will pursue DOCSIS 4.0 aggressively. Altice USA, as one example, announced this week it will accelerate its deployment of FTTP upgrades in both its Optimum and more rural-facing Suddenlink footprints. In Europe, Liberty Global will take multiple upgrade paths using both FTTP and HFC/DOCSIS 4.0, but building fiber overlays is the primary focus at Virgin O2 in the UK, Virgin Media (Ireland) and Telenet (Belgium).

In the US, both Comcast and Charter Communications have announced lab tests of DOCSIS 4.0, and Cable One is preparing for DOCSIS 4.0 upgrades as it begins to boost the capacity of its HFC networks to 1.8GHz.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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