In a clear sign that European cable providers plan to compete in the emerging gigabit market, Vodafone Germany has started rolling out DOCSIS 3.1-enabled 1-Gig service throughout its large footprint.
As reported by Broadband TV News today, Vodafone Germany is starting with the four Bavarian cities of Nuremberg, Landshut, Dingolfing and Fuerth. These four markets, with a combined 400,000 cable homes, were the first ones where Vodafone switched off analog TV and radio channels and upgraded its networks to DOCSIS 3.1. (See Eurobites: BT Transfers 31K Workers to Openreach.)
Vodafone aims to offer D3.1 service to around 5 million homes in Bavaria, or about three-quarters of its cable households in that region, by the end of the year. In all 13 German federal states now served by Vodafone's HFC network, the company plans to extend service to more than 6 million homes by the close of this year and nearly 13 million, or almost all their current cable households, by the end of 2020.
Further, if European regulatory authorities approve its planned acquisition of Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY)'s Unitymedia operation, Vodafone intends to offer Gigabit speeds to 50 million people covered by the two companies' combined networks by 2022. That would amount to nearly two thirds of all Germans.
Unitymedia, the first cable operator in Germany to roll out DOCSIS 3.1 service, has been offering 1 Gig speeds over its HFC network since the spring. The MSO launched its first market, Bochum, in May and plans to extend service to a second, larger metro area, Frankfurt, later this month. (See Liberty Global Seeks Broadband Growth Spurt.)
Such other major European cablecos as Com Hem AB , Stofa and TDC Group are all now in the midst of rolling out DOCSIS 3.1 in their respective territories as well. So are some smaller operators like Eltrona in Luxembourg. (See DOCSIS 3.1 Ramps Up in Europe and Eltrona Launches DOCSIS 3.1 & DAA With Arris.)
In the markets where it's rolling out DOCSIS 3.1, Vodafone is offering 1 Gig download and 50 Mbit/s upload speeds (eventually going up to 100 Mbit/s) for an introductory rate of €19.99 per month ($23.15) for the first year. After that introductory period ends, the price will rise to €69.99 ($81) per month. Customers who subscribe before the end of the year will receive the current 500 Mbit/s price of €49.99 per month ($57.84) in the second year.
What will the mass rollout of DOCSIS 3.1 and gigabit services mean for European cable providers? How will the new technology spec impact the fixed broadband market? What lessons are providers learning from their service trials and pilots? These are some of the key questions that we will tackle when Light Reading stages our inaugural Cable Next-Gen Europe conference in London on November 6 at the Radisson Blu Portman Hotel.
Based on our popular Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies conference in Denver each March, Cable Next-Gen Europe will offer a comprehensive look at cable’s efforts to develop, deploy and monetize new technologies, platforms, products, services, features and applications. Leading European and US cable technologists will examine the industry’s latest tech moves, spell out their strategies, dissect the hurdles they face and discuss how to overcome them.
Specifically, our team of tech experts will tackle such timely topics as DOCSIS 3.1, Full Duplex DOCSIS, 5G, Distributed Access Architecture, Fiber Deep, FTTH, network virtualization, cloud-based video, cable-mobile convergence and others. Both Cable Europe and SCTE Europe are partnering with us on the event and supplying moderators and/or speakers. (See What's Next for European Cable?)
Nuno Sanches, Vodafone's Group Head of Fixed Development, and Jeff Finkelstein, Executive Director of Advanced Technologies at Cox Communications, head the speaking lineup of top European and US cable, broadband and video technologists. Other confirmed speakers include: Kjeld Balmer, Head of Network Technology at Stofa; Anders Bloom, Senior Systems Manager of Broadband at Com Hem; Ade Brittain, Senior Manager, Access Network Innovation at Liberty Global; Mark Burns, HFC Architect at Liberty Global; Jim Crammond, Senior Director of Operator Business Development at Intel; Tony Gunnarsson, Principal Analyst at Ovum; Jeff Heynen, Director, Sectors & Technology at SNL Kagan Consulting; Pasi Jarvenpaa, Senior Vice President, R&D at Teleste; Frank Miller, CTO, EMEA at Ciena; Hanno Narjus, Senior Vice President, Network Products at Teleste; and Paulo Valente, Director of Technology Policy, Cable Europe. And more speakers are still on the way.
It promises to be the start of a much-needed dialogue about how European cablecos can cope with the rapidly shifting competitive landscape. So please join us on Tuesday, Nov. 6 for Cable Next-Gen Europe in London. We'll make it worth your while.
Hope to see you all in London.
— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading