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DOCSIS

Mediacom Takes 'Back Seat' on Docsis 3.0

Mediacom Communications Corp. executives are confident the MSO's current generation of cable modem services will be enough to stay ahead of its telco competitors for some time before having to worry about introducing next-generation Docsis 3.0 technologies.

"We are going to take a back seat on [Docsis 3.0] and see what other people in our industry... are doing," said Mediacom Chairman & CEO Rocco Commisso, responding to a question about the MSO's Docsis 3.0 aspirations during Tuesday's second-quarter earnings call. (See Mediacom Sees Slower Growth.)

"I don't think anyone has deployed that technology in the U.S. today. I don't think it's going to happen anytime soon," Commisso said, adding that Docsis 3.0 will be something Mediacom will be "looking at" in 2008 and 2009.

Today, Mediacom offers Docsis flagship data tiers that deliver shared downstream speeds of 8 Mbit/s and 10 Mbit/s. It also markets a 15-Mbit/s "Elite" cable modem service.

The CableLabs Docsis 3.0 specification calls for a minimum bonding of four downstream channels and four upstream channels, enough to produce shared speeds in excess of 100 Mbit/s.

Some cable operators in Asia have started to use pre-Docsis 3.0 systems to stave off telcos that offer super-fast Internet access services fed by fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) and advanced DSL systems. But U.S.-based operators such as Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) have only discussed plans to begin 3.0 testing some time this year, with deployments to follow during 2008. (See Japanese MSO Moves 160 Mbit/s and Comcast Preps Docsis 3.0 Trials.)

MSOs presently do not have access to any Docsis 3.0-certified modems or 3.0-qualified cable modem termination systems (CMTSs). CableLabs, however, is expected to begin its first official tests on such equipment this October. (See CableLabs Accelerates Docsis 3.0 Testing .)

Mediacom, whose primary telco competitor is Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q), is not under the same competitive speed pressure as some of its cable colleagues, particularly those that are squaring off with Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and its FiOS offering.

Commisso said his competitors are gaining customers by concentrating on lower-priced, lower-speed services. "I don't think they can compete with us [for]... customers that need and want much higher speeds," he added.

Mediacom also offers a 512-kbit/s tier, but uses it as a "customer save" tactic rather than as a heavily-promoted service. The lion's share of the company's Internet subs take Mediacom's 8-Mbit/s or 10-Mbit/s tier, according to executive vice president and chief financial officer Mark Stephan.

Mediacom, like other MSOs, did see its high-speed subscriber growth slow down in the second quarter. It added 13,000 data customers in the period, extending its total to 613,000. The MSO signed up 22,000 high-speed customers in the same period a year ago.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

vrparente 12/5/2012 | 3:04:17 PM
re: Mediacom Takes 'Back Seat' on Docsis 3.0 You call this news ? Of course nobody is deploying it. The gear doesn't exist yet so how could they -- or any other operator deploy it ? I don't see how this is news.
Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 3:04:16 PM
re: Mediacom Takes 'Back Seat' on Docsis 3.0 Gotta disagree. I think any operator that publicly says they are taking a backseat on docsis 3.0, which by the way was the BIG FOCUS of the 2007 Cable Show, qualifies as news in my opinion. Plus, Mediacom's basically saying it doesn't need it yet, which shows you its opinion of Qwest. When other MSOs say they are going to do trials in 2007, does that also not qualify as news because the technology "doesn't exist yet." Several operators are using some pre-3.0 gear, so some of the capabilities found in the full spec do in fact exist.
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