TV Cabo Taps Cisco for Wideband Rollout

TV Cabo, Portugal's largest cable operator, has tapped Cisco Systems to supply infrastructure for a wideband service rollout supporting Internet access speeds at up to 100 Mbit/s. Through the deal, TV Cabo will deploy Cisco's uBR10012 DOCSIS Cable Modem Termination Systems (CMTS) across its network serving more than 350,000 broadband Internet customers, as well as edge QAM and cable modem products from Scientific-Atlanta. In preparation for the rollout, TV Cabo is launching a wideband trial with Cisco. The Portuguese MSO says it also plans to ring up IP phone service this year.

The Cisco wideband solution uses a modular CMTS (M-CMTS) configuration. A "SPA module" is added to the uBR10012 CMTS, providing a Gigabit Ethernet interface into edge QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation) modulators from Scientific-Atlanta. This way, the uBR10012 handles MAC processing, but bonding to create a wideband cable modem channel is done at the edge QAM. Channel capacity can then be added through the edge QAMs, rather than through fixed-ratio CMTS linecards.

Forthcoming DOCSIS 3.0 specifications define an interoperable wideband architecture. However, the standard is not yet completed, and once it is, it could take years until product certified to meet the standard is generally available. To stay ahead in the bandwidth race, MSOs in competitive European and Asian broadband markets are eager to deploy wideband quickly. Their only near-term option is using proprietary gear.

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