DOCSIS 3.1 Takes the Prize

With Gigabit Fever still running rampant in broadband circles, the rollout of DOCSIS 3.1 is considered the highest next-gen technology priority for the cable industry this year.

In the latest Light Reading community poll, readers selected DOCSIS 3.1 -- the latest iteration of the DOCSIS standard that will enable cable operators to offer downstream speeds as high as 10 Gbit/s and upstream speeds of at least 1 Gbit/s -- as their top choice for the cable industry's leading tech priority this year. More than a third of the 1,004 survey participants through Monday morning, or 36.5% of the total, chose D3.1.

The only other next-gen tech option that came even close, Distributed Access Architecture (DAA), drew votes from more than a fifth of readers, or 22%. None of the other four options -- Converged Cable Access platform (CCAP), multiscreen video, cloud DVR and OTT video -- managed to even reach the double-digit percentages.

Cable Next-Gen Technology Priorities
DOCSIS 3.1 easily led the way as gigabit fever continues to run rampant.
DOCSIS 3.1 easily led the way as gigabit fever continues to run rampant.

Given the rush by broadband providers of all stripes to offer Gigabit services to their customers, it's not too surprising that DOCSIS 3.1 came out so strongly on top in the poll. Just about every week, one provider or another unveils plans to introduce Gigabit service to its broadband subscribers or extend service to a new market.

For the latest on the Gigabit Cities movement, visit Light Reading's dedicated Gigabit Cities content channel. And be sure to register to attend Light Reading's Gigabit Cities Live event on May 13-14 in Atlanta.

Just last week, for instance, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) announced plans to start rolling out a symmetrical 2 Gbit/s residential broadband service to more than 1.5 million customers in the Atlanta metro area next month. The giant US MSO will initially rely on its burgeoning fiber-to-the-home network to deliver the new Gigabit Pro service across the country. But Comcast, which has also begun testing the DOCSIS 3.1 spec in the field, is still expected to leverage D3.1 to bring Gigabit speeds to most of its 22 million broadband subscribers. (See Comcast Preps 2-Gig Service… Over Fiber and Comcast Puts DOCSIS 3.1 Live in the Field.)

The selection of DAA -- a next-gen technology that calls for virtualizing the cable headend to at least some degree by moving some or all of the data and video processing functions from the headend down to the network fiber node -- as the second leading choice was more surprising because it has not received much attention outside cable engineering circles. So the poll results may be a sign that DAA is ready to take off as cable operators confront growing bandwidth challenges over the rest of the decade. (See Cable Weighs Ways to Go Virtual.)

Less surprisingly, a fair number of survey respondents advised cable operators not to bother with any of the next-gen technology options this year. Instead, slightly more than a sixth of readers, or 17%, urged operators to forget about new technology and just focus on giving customers better service.

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

Mageon 4/25/2015 | 8:26:02 PM
WIth DOCSIS 3.1 comes with better service I think DOCSIS 3.1 will bring better customer service.  
alanbreznick 4/7/2015 | 10:34:21 AM
Re: Service I think many folks would agree with you. Better customer service would go a long way towards restoring cable's reputation. 
danielcawrey 4/6/2015 | 5:23:02 PM
Service Service is totally important to keeping customers. And while the US lags behind in broadband, that doesn't seem to be causing a lot of angst for customers.

I'm actually surprised by this, but it may mean operators should just spend their time elsewhere – like customer service. 
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