Cox, Comcast Wax on Wideband
Cox hasn't yet said where it will initially introduce so-called "Wideband" cable modem services, which give operators the ability to deliver shared Internet speeds in excess of 100 Mbit/s. But Cox, Bowick said, will launch Docsis 3.0 first in "very strategic markets that require those kinds of speeds." [Ed. note: Like the San Fernando Valley?]
One possible candidate is northern Virginia, where Cox is battling Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and its fiber-fed FiOS platform. Verizon is making plans to market a 50-Mbit/s downstream/20-Mbit/s upstream service across its fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) footprint, which stands today at about 10 million homes. (See Verizon Shows Its Hand .)
"We're working very hard to get Docsis 3.0 out there," Bowick added, noting that Cox now has access to a range of certified and qualified equipment based on the new CableLabs specs. (See Modems, CMTSs Break Docsis 3.0 Barrier .)
Docsis 3.0 modems are specified to bond at least four 6 MHz channels, Cox may kick off deployments by bonding two or three to obtain the speeds it believes will be necessary to compete. "Two [bonded channels] would probably do it," Bowick said.
Tony Werner, the CTO of Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), says his company plans to wire up as much as 20 percent of its plant for Wideband this year, but "it could be higher than that."
In early April, Comcast launched Wideband in the Twin Cities, where it competes with Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q), but the MSO has yet to announce any more commercial deployments. However, company officials have indicated that Docsis 3.0 gear has been installed in at least two additional markets. Comcast expects all of its systems to support Docsis 3.0 by mid-2010. (See Comcast Enters the Wideband Era and Comcast Buying Arris Docsis 3.0 Gear.)
Werner, likewise, would not say whether Comcast would deploy Docsis 3.0 only to combat fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) competition or go for the jugular where telcos are still offering DSL. "I think there are a lot of different [deployment] philosophies. We haven't telegraphed ours yet," Werner said.
In case you missed it, Comcast's Werner spoke with LRTV last month on Docsis 3.0, tru2way, and the introduction of WiMax as a possible service in the future:
— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News