Broadcom: Sub-$50 Docsis 3.0 Modem in Sight
Although Broadcom doesn't set product pricing, Jay Kirchoff, the senior director of marketing for Broadcom's communications business unit, believes the high level of integration and bill of materials Broadcom has tied to that chipset, dubbed the BCM3380, puts standalone wideband modems within reach of breaking the $50 per unit mark. Modems with VoIP support would, of course, cost a bit more.
But $50 "is the next major threshold to reach," he told Cable Digital News at last week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Such pricing, he said, should "foster operator acceptance" of Docsis 3.0, a category in which Broadcom and Texas Instruments Inc. (NYSE: TXN) will do battle for adoption within wideband modems, embedded multimedia terminal adapters (EMTAs), and some next-gen media gateways capable of delivering IPTV applications.
In the meantime, Broadcom believes its new modem silicon, which can fuse up to eight downstream channels and as many as four downstream channels, should at least be "comparable in price" to the existing 4x4 modems on the market today. CableLabs specs require Docsis 3.0 modems to bond a minimum of four channels in each direction.
"Our strategy was to give four channels for free," says Kirchoff.
Peter Percosan, TI's executive director of broadband strategy, says he doesn't expect Broadcom's entry to create a product price war, but does think competition at the Docsis 3.0 chipset level will spark a feature battle.
"I'm counting on quality of product to help us maintain our market share," Percosan says, noting that TI has already shipped about 1 million of its CableLabs-certified Puma5 chipsets that use the 4x4 configuration.
And what about breaking the $50 price barrier? "Anything to help accelerate the complete shift from Docsis 2.0 to Docsis 3.0 we're going to do, [but] I don't think it's the role of the silicon provider to set the price point of the end device," Percosan says.
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