Midco is using mid-splits and high-splits to help extend the life of its HFC network, but sees targeted opportunities for DOCSIS 4.0. Midco is also evaluating adding mobile to the bundle, says VP of network engineering Pao Lo.

Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor

March 15, 2024

At a Glance

  • Details about Midco's 'Fiber Forward' initiative for HFC and fiber-to-the-premises networks (01:23)
  • Strategy behind Midco's plan to deploy DOCSIS 3.1 'stretch' upgrades (05:25)
  • Midco is assessing whether to add mobile to the service bundle (08:30)

DENVER – CABLE NEXT-GEN – Under its "Fiber Forward" initiative, Midco is using a blend of enhancements – including mid-split upgrades and a selective use of high-splits – to drive more upstream capacity and extend the life of its hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) network. And, in some cases, Midco is pivoting to fiber-to-the-premises technology to help fulfill its five-year plan.

Update: Alongside its use of mid-split upgrades, Midco is using remote PHY high-split upgrades for multiple dwelling units (MDUs) in fiber-to-the-premises/greenfield areas where fiber to the MDU is not a possibility. Midco is also going with remote PHY with a high-split for a projected 10,000 homes passed in Lennox, South Dakota, and is in the process of operationalizing it, according to Pao Lo, Midco's vice president of network engineering.

Lo joined us here this week to outline the operator's multi-faceted network evolution plan, including the anticipated use of DOCSIS 3.1 "stretch" – a term that Lo is using to describe an emerging enhancement for D3.1 networks that takes advantage of additional OFDM (orthogonal frequency division multiplexing) channels.

DOCSIS 3.1 stretch "really buys you five to six to maybe even eight years of runway in terms of our product," Lo said.

Though DOCSIS 3.1 stretch (sometimes labeled DOCSIS 3.1 extended or DOCSIS 3.1+) puts operators in position to offer around 8 Gbit/s downstream and more than 1 Gbit/s upstream, Lo says he expects DOCSIS 4.0 to play a limited role at Midco.

Lo said Midco is also exploring mobile options, including how Midco might tap into the National Content & Technology Cooperative's agreements with AT&T and Reach.

Below is a snapshot of topics that Lo discussed (click the closed captioning button in the player for a lightly edited transcript):

  • An overview of Midco and its US service footprint (00:32)

  • Details about Midco's "Fiber Forward" next-gen network initiative for HFC and fiber-to-the-premises, covering both greenfield and brownfield areas (01:23)

  • What variables – led by the retirement of legacy QAM video – are determining where Midco is going with mid-split and high-split upgrades (02:20)

  • The strategy behind Midco's intention to deploy DOCSIS 3.1 "stretch" upgrades (05:25)

  • How DOCSIS 4.0 could fit into Midco's future plans for the HFC network (07:10)

  • Midco is assessing whether to add mobile to the bundle (08:30)

About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

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