Welcome to Friday. In today's edition of Gigabites, Charter and Comcast remind us of the virtues of Full Duplex DOCSIS, Adtran announces a new 10-gigabit community in Texas, Mediacom promises DOCSIS 3.1 everywhere by the end of the year and more.
The news by Altice had some questioning whether Charter and Comcast were making the right network investments, and the two companies no doubt wanted to reassure investors and other audiences that DOCSIS has the necessary firepower to take on fiber. Speaking at the UBS Global Media & Communications Conference, both Charter CEO Tom Rutledge and Comcast CFO Mike Cavanagh recommitted to DOCSIS 3.1 deployments and emphasized the potential for symmetrical multi-gigabit speeds with upcoming Full Duplex DOCSIS technology.
There's just one catch. Or actually, two caveats. First, widespread deployments of Full Duplex DOCSIS are still years away, meaning that cable companies won't be able to use it to compete with symmetrical gigabit and multi-gig speeds in most markets until the 2020s. That may be fine in relation to Altice, which doesn't expect to complete its fiber rollout until then anyway, but it won't suffice -- at least in the upstream -- if cable companies want to match up in the marketing wars against telco and municipality driven fiber-to-the-home networks. (See CableLabs: First Full Duplex Trials in 1 Year.)
Second, while the cable industry has talked about Full Duplex DOCSIS enabling symmetrical 10-gigabit speeds, it turns out that RF limitations mean upstream speeds will actually max out at around 5 gigabits. That's still far above what almost all consumers and even most businesses need today, but it nonetheless doesn't have quite the same ring to it that symmetrical 10-gigabit service does. And as of the last year, some 10-gig marketing claims are already starting to fly. (See Gigabites: 10-Gig Is the New Gigabit.)
— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading