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DOCSIS

Cox Kicks at Qwest

Cox Communications Inc. is bringing Docsis 3.0 to the desert, attacking Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) in Arizona with an "Ultimate" tier that offers up to 50 Mbit/s downstream and an unbonded upstream of 5 Mbit/s for $89.99 per month. With PowerBoost, a patented technology that taps into unused network capacity, downstream speeds can reach as high as 55 Mbit/s, said Cox, which has introduced the new service in the greater Phoenix and Tucson areas (starting in locations such as Carefree and Rio Verde), and intends to offer it in Scottsdale in the next month.

A Cox spokeswoman said the MSO has close to 3 million "customer relationships" in the state, a figure that includes the operator's video, phone, and high-speed Internet customers. (See Cox Brings Wideband to the Desert and Cox Gives Wideband a 'PowerBoost'.) In Arizona, Cox is looking to outgun Qwest, which is launching a VDSL2 service of 40 Mbit/s downstream and 20 Mbit/s upstream for an "introductory" price of $109.99 per month when it's bundled with home phone service. (Most users' speeds will be lower, depending on the home's distance from the central office.) Qwest has identified Tucson as one of the initial cities to get the new offering. (See Qwest Attacks Comcast With 40 Mbit/s.)

Cox, the nation's third-largest MSO with about 5.3 million subs, intends to have more than two thirds of its network Docsis 3.0-ready by the end of 2010. It's already deployed the technology in Palos Verdes, Calif., and in Rhode Island and Northern Virginia, where it faces off with Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) FiOS. Cox debuted Docsis 3.0 in April in Lafayette Parish, La., where it's taking on AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and a municipal fiber-to-the-home buildout. (See Cox Unleashes Wideband and Cox Faces FiOS in Fairfax, Fredericksburg.)

Cox based its initial wideband deployments on Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) gear: the uBR10012 cable modem termination system (CMTS) and the DPC3000 cable modem.

Josh Nelson, Cox's VP of information and network technologies for the Arizona systems, said the MSO is using Cisco CMTSs and modems in that market too, but he noted that the company has also qualified modems from Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT). — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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