Cable modem/CMTS

Arris Nudges Cisco for Northwest Cable Upgrades

Bresnan Communications LLC is deploying Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS)'s flagship cable modem termination system, the C4, in four Northwestern U.S. markets, marking the latest mid-sized MSO to set the stage for future Docsis 3.0-fueled Internet services.

Bresnan, which serves pockets of Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, and Utah, said it will use the C4, a chassis that integrates downstream and upstream cards, in Kalispell and Helena, Mont.; and Gillette and Casper, Wyo. (See Bresnan Picks Arris CMTS.)

The MSO is taking a different route in markets such as Grand Junction, Colo.; and Billings and Missoula, Mont., opting for a modular CMTS (M-CMTS) architecture that matches the Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) uBR10012 with Harmonic Inc. (Nasdaq: HLIT) NSG 9000 edge QAMs. In that scenario, the core Cisco CMTS handles upstream capacity, while the edge QAMs pipe in the downstream.

Bresnan VP of engineering and technology Pragash Pillai said a more simplified, integrated CMTS architecture made more sense in the new Arris markets based on the product mix the MSO is rolling out there, which includes a hosted VoIP offering.

No Docsis 3.0 services yet
With the Cisco/Harmonic and Arris CMTS platforms in place, Bresnan will have the bulk of its systems plumbed for Docsis 3.0. However, the MSO, whose primary competitor is Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q), hasn’t revealed when it expects to debut a Docsis 3.0-based tier for residential or business Internet services. But it won't take much for the operator to pull the wideband trigger. (See Bresnan's 'Insurance Policy' .)

"We deployed the [new CMTSs] with four downstream channels, but they aren't bonded," Pillai says. "But I could do that fairly quickly. I'm like 90 percent there already."

For now, Bresnan's present high-end residential modem tier "Speed Plus" delivers 15 Mbit/s downstream and 1 Mbit/s downstream. Activating wideband would give Bresnan the ability to offer shared downstream speeds in the neighborhood of 100 Mbit/s.

Pillai said Bresnan has no immediate plans to bond upstream channels, either, but is looking to beef up the capacity of its single-channel upstream to support speeds in the range of 2 Mbit/s to 4 Mbit/s.

The new contract continues the CMTS momentum for Arris, which knocked Cisco off its perch as the category's revenue leader following a strong showing in the second quarter. (See Arris Snares CMTS Crown From Cisco .)

But the latest deal isn't a Docsis first for Arris and Bresnan. The MSO already uses Arris embedded multimedia terminal adapters (E-MTAs) to support VoIP services. Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), meanwhile, is Bresnan's predominant stand-alone Docsis modem supplier.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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