Like their counterparts in North America, European cable operators are starting to embrace DOCSIS 3.1 for the multi-gigabit speeds that it promises to deliver.
At the ANGA COM show in Cologne, Germany earlier this month, such major European MSOs as Altice in France, VOO in Belgium, DNA in Finland and TDC A/S (Copenhagen: TDC) in Denmark all revealed plans for either DOCSIS 3.1 commercial deployments or field trials over the coming months. Major equipment vendors like Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS), Casa Systems Inc. , Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. all showed off Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP) and Distributed Access Architecture (DAA) systems to help operators make the migration to D 3.1.
The cable industry's enthusiasm for the new broadband spec and related gigabit-enabling technologies was particularly evident at the DOCSIS 3.1 Forum that Huawei staged on the show's opening day last Tuesday. Some 110 cable executives attended the half-day forum, which took place at the Cologne botanical gardens across the River Rhine from the conference's exhibition halls.
Over the course of the four-hour session, senior executives representing Huawei, CableLabs , Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) , TDC, Vodafone Spain, Cable Europe and Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) discussed the ins and outs of DOCSIS 3.1. In one of the day's highlights, top executives from Cable Europe, Huawei and TDC pushed a large, virtual lever to turn on DOCSIS 3.1 service to TDC's broadband customers in Denmark as filmed fireworks went off on the big screen behind them. (See TDC Denmark Launches DOCSIS 3.1 With Huawei.)
In another highlight, Forum organizers conducted a series of audience polls about gigabit services. Responding to the first question, more than half of the participants, or 53%, indicated that they plan to deploy gigabit broadband service within the next year. Another 31% said they plan to do so within the next three years, while just 4% said they don't plan to do it at all.
But cable operators aren't just interested in rolling out DOCSIS 3.1 for gigabit speeds. They're also interested in deploying fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks. In another audience poll question during the Forum, about two-thirds of the respondents, or 66%, said they believe that a converged cable architecture of DOCSIS 3.1 and FTTH would be the best way to deliver gigabit broadband service.
While clearly enthused about DOCSIS 3.1, cable operators are quite aware that there are still challenges in deploying it. When asked to name the biggest challenges in another poll question during the Forum, nearly half cited the HFC network upgrades that may be needed, including changing amps, splitting nodes and switching RF optics. Exactly one third said there's not enough spectrum available to deploy D3.1. And nearly one third said operational support systems (OSS) and maintenance require new thinking.
This blog was sponsored by Huawei, which staged the DOCSIS 3.1 Forum in Cologne with Light Reading's help.
— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading