& cplSiteName &

Why D3.1 Isn't on Every Cableco Agenda

Mari Silbey
3/3/2016
50%
50%

Washington, DC -- For all of the industry enthusiasm around DOCSIS 3.1, not all independent cable operators are convinced it's right for them.

Speaking at the American Cable Association (ACA) 's annual ACA Summit here, three very different indie cable companies all expressed serious reservations about the prospect of deploying the newest DOCSIS standard. Wave Broadband with roughly 250,000 broadband subscribers, Comporium Communications with an equivalent 120,000 subs, and Frankfort Plant Board with close to 14,000 broadband customers all agreed that DOCSIS 3.1 isn't on the near-term agenda. And it may not end up on the network roadmap at all.

Hesitation around D3.1 isn't because the three cable operators are getting out of the broadband business. Quite the contrary. All three are moving in the direction of becoming predominantly Internet service providers with a decreased emphasis on television service. However, given the economics of upgrading their networks, DOCSIS 3.1 is largely unappealing.

"At this moment, and stay tuned till next year, we donít think 3.1 makes sense," declared Wave Broadband CEO Steve Weed. "We think that the best economic model... is to do a fiber overlay on top of your HFC system and go straight to the home with the fiber as opposed to going 3.1. And surprisingly we think that's better economics in the long run, much more efficient."

Weed went on to explain that it appears to be less expensive to extend fiber from the node to the home than to deploy DOCSIS 3.1 when the operational efficiencies of Ethernet are taken into account. At least, that's what he thinks today.

"We think that's a better way to go," said Weed. "We're going to test that this year."


For more fixed broadband market coverage and insights, check out our dedicated Gigabit/Broadband content channel here on Light Reading.


Assistant General Manager John Higginbotham of Frankfort Plant Board (FPB) agreed with Weed on D3.1, although his company's reasons for not making the upgrade are somewhat different. FPB doesn't have access to capital for a major update and is already working through significant debt from its move into triple-play services many years ago.

"We truly are at a crossroads. Our network, the way it's constructed, it would cost way, way too much, I think. I don't know yet, I haven't done all the homework to see whether the 3.1 would work for us because of the long cascades we have," said Higginbotham.

As for Comporium, the South Carolina cable company is a big proponent of high-speed broadband, but, like Wave, it's using fiber for gigabit service rollouts. And even where the company still has HFC plant, EVP of Customer Operations Matt Dosch believes DOCSIS 3.1 may still not be the way to go.

"There's much to be wrung out of [DOCSIS] 3.0," stated Dosch, "and we're really focused on fiber to the prem on one hand and really maximizing the capability through node splits and other incremental tools to really squeeze everything we can out of DOCSIS 3.0 before we really worry about 3.1."

Broken down that way, it's easy to wonder if D3.1 will ever make sense for most tier-two and tier-three cable operators. By the time they fully leverage DOCSIS 3.0, it may be time to move on from DOCSIS altogether. (See also Smaller MSOs Prep for DOCSIS 3.1 & PON .)

— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading

(4)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
carasmith
50%
50%
carasmith,
User Rank: Light Beer
6/7/2016 | 4:24:35 AM
Why D3.1 isn't on every Cabelco Agenda
As Washington, DC said For all of the industry enthusiasm around DOCSIS 3.1, not all independent cable operators are convinced it's right for them.  Talking about  the topic in American Cable Association (ACA) 's annual ACA Summit here, On the other hand Broadband with roughly 2 Lacks & fifty thousand broadband subscribers, Comporium Communications with an equivalent 120,000 subs, and Frankfort Plant Board with more than Fourteen thousand broadband customers all noding upon that DOCSIS 3.1 isn't on the near-term agenda. And it may not end up on the network roadmap at all.  Hesitation on D3.1 isn't because the three cable operators are getting out of the broadband business. All of these moving direction of becoming predominantly Internet service providers with a decreased emphasis on television service. However, Some healthcare companies (Get tested STD Testing) are using internet services to deal with the clients and dealing with economics of upgrading their networks.
jbtombes
50%
50%
jbtombes,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/4/2016 | 6:17:41 PM
Timing of the Spend
All this gets worked out on a spreadsheet - or homework as the FPB GM said. And what may stink for the consumer may look like virtuous thrift to the operator. "Spend no dime before it's time," as I used to hear back in the day. Bottom line is budgets and time horizon.
gregw33
50%
50%
gregw33,
User Rank: Lightning
3/4/2016 | 8:23:33 AM
D3.1 or VAN?
I think that once cable executive understand the compelling value proposition of the Virtual Access Network (VAN) (e.g., CORD, ONOS et al) they will cap DOCSIS and move.  The speed of which as @KBode pointed out will be determined by the local competitive environment.
KBode
50%
50%
KBode,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/3/2016 | 4:04:48 PM
Competition...
I assume that many cable operators either have no broadband competition at all, or they're competing against telcos that are still selling 1.5 Mbps DSL lines for $60 a month. In that case I'd assume it only makes sense to hold off on upgrading, however much that may stink for the end consumer.
Featured Video
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
September 17-19, 2019, Dallas, Texas
October 1-2, 2019, New Orleans, Louisiana
October 10, 2019, New York, New York
October 22, 2019, Los Angeles, CA
November 5, 2019, London, England
November 7, 2019, London, UK
December 3, 2019, New York, New York
December 3-5, 2019, Vienna, Austria
March 16-18, 2020, Embassy Suites, Denver, Colorado
May 18-20, 2020, Irving Convention Center, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events