Knology: Wideband Can Wait

Knology Inc. (Nasdaq: KNOL) already has about 20 percent of its network upgraded to support Docsis 3.0, but the competitive cable overbuilder doesn't think it needs to launch faster Internet services via the Cable Television Laboratories Inc. (CableLabs) -specified platform, at least not yet.

"We are enabling our markets to deliver Docsis 3.0 when we decide the time is right to push the trigger," Knology chairman and CEO Rodger Johnson said last week during the company's first-quarter earnings call. (See Knology Reports Q1.)

By the end of 2008, Knology had upgraded cable modem termination systems (CMTSs) covering about one fifth of its plant. Knology expects to upgrade another 50 percent of its homes passed for wideband this year, and the rest of the network sometime in 2010. The company ended the first quarter with 685,546 total "connections." (See Knology Calls Wideband Play .)

So, with some of its plant ready to go, what's the holdup with launching actual Docsis 3.0-fueled services? It's the price.

"A very expensive piece of that proposition is the transition of the cable modems to 3.0 cable modems. We will make that move at the time that we're feeling competitive pressures to move to a 3.0 environment, but not until that time," Johnson said. (See Broadcom: Sub-$50 Docsis 3.0 Modem in Sight .)

Knology execs did not say how long they're willing to wait, or what speeds Knology will eventually deliver using channel bonding.

For now, Knology is growing without the help of wideband. In the first quarter, 5,199 of the new 8,752 connections it added came from its Internet products.

If Knology decides to launch Docsis 3.0 services based strictly on competitive factors, a likely first target is Pinellas County, Fla., a market served by Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) FiOS and Bright House Networks .

Other early candidates for Knology include Augusta, Columbus, and West Point, Ga.; and Knoxville, Tenn., where Knology is matched up with Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), an MSO that expects to have Docsis 3.0 deployed in all systems by the end of 2010. (See 40%... & Counting.)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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