RCN & Cisco

5:25 PM -- RCN Corp. doesn't appear to be in a huge hurry to get Docsis 3.0 and 100 Mbit/s Internet services rolling out the door, but when it does, expect Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) to be one of the vendor beneficiaries.

Cisco, which makes Docsis 3.0 modems and cable modem termination systems (CMTSs), is helping to get RCN prepared for an eventual rollout spanning 2009 and 2010, according to RCN president and CEO Peter Aquino, who discussed the company's second-quarter results this morning. (See RCN Posts Q2 Results and Docsis 3.0 Gear Tracker III .)

But, for the near-term, RCN believes its single-channel 20 Mbit/s high-end tier should be enough for customers who require big speeds.

"The node sizes we have at RCN -- 150-home nodes -- will automatically give us that incremental advantage over cable [operators with] bigger node sizes," Aquino said. Depending on the operator, most "incumbent" cable operators operate plant with 500 or more homes per node. (See Videotron Plants 'Fiber Deep' .)

Further out, RCN believes its "Analog Crush" project will give it the spare channels and capacity required for Docsis 3.0. Each "crushed" market will enable RCN to reclaim about 80 analog channels for other uses. (See RCN's 'Analog Crush' and RCN to 'Crush' It in Beantown .)

RCN is already crushin' it in Chicago and has the project well underway in Boston. It expects to start similar rollouts in New York City, Washington, and the Philadelphia suburbs in the second half of the year.

"By the first quarter of 2009, we will be approaching 90 percent digital penetration," Aquino said.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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