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Koreans Take Cable IPTV for a Spin

4:50 PM -- BigBand Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: BBND) has revealed South Korea's LG Powercom Co Ltd. as the first deployer of "vIP PASS," a platform that enables MSOs to pipe in IPTV services through edge QAMs and essentially "bypass" the core cable modem termination system (CMTS). (See LG Powercom Deploys 'vIP PASS'.)

BigBand began tooting its vIP PASS horn in March, claiming that the CMTS-bypass IPTV architecture/method saves big bucks over one that feeds video directly through the CMTS. Moreover, BigBand also held that "core" CMTS gear just isn't up to the challenge from a technical standpoint. Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS), which makes CMTSs and edge QAMs, doesn't agree with BigBand on both counts. But this debate will likely be settled by real deployment activity. (See BigBand Lays Cable IPTV Groundwork and Cable IPTV Debate Brews .)

LG Powercom is the first MSO, and only, so far, to deploy vIP PASS (that we know of). It's using the technology to deliver IPTV fare to more than 2.3 million subs via more than 60,000 kilometers of hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) plant, according to BigBand.

Economic reasons aside, there's another good reason LG Powercom went with an IPTV approach: It had to. An industry source familiar with the South Korean market tells Cable Digital News that LG Powercom is defined as a "full facility ISP." As such, it has the green light from the government to deliver video products, just so long as they're delivered using IP technology.

BigBand didn’t reveal LG Powercom's Docsis 3.0 modem and CMTS partner for the IPTV project, but it's likely Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT). In March, the telecom operator announced it was rolling out a 160 Mbit/s (downstream) Docsis 3.0 service using Moto's flagship CMTS, the BSR 64000, and the vendor's TX32, a dense CMTS module that supports 32 downstream ports. (See Moto Wins Korean Docsis Deal and Moto Downloads Docsis Plans .)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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