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A Practical Path to Gigabit Services Over Cable

By John Mattson, Senior Director of Marketing, Cisco Cable Access Business Unit

By now you’ve heard from AT&T, Google Fiber, Verizon, and the mainstream media, about their plans to offer Gigabit services in over14 states that’ll get wired for 1 Gig next year. Will Gigabit become a “New Norm”?

And if you’re a broadband service provider, you’re thinking, “okay, so, my fastest tiers are my lowest subscribed – tell me again why I need to rush to get this done right now?”

Far be it from me, or us, to pile on to this particular viewpoint, when it comes to Gigabit DOCSIS. Naturally, we see a reason for it. We sell the equipment. But I do think there’s a more plausible way to look at it, which is timely, because it’s a technical discussion, and this is the week of the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers’ annual Cable-Tec Expo in Atlanta.

We propose the following question to our cable operator customers: What if there was a way to profitably offer very high-speed services in your upper service tiers, while increasing speeds in your lower tiers, without massive disruption and the dreaded “forklift upgrade”? We believe there is. Think about it: Most of you are already on a trajectory to start using 24- or 32-channel modems and gateways. Each channel is 40 Mbps (give or take); 40 x 24 is 960 Mbps, which gets you pretty close to Gigabit DOCSIS.

If you have Cisco CMTS gear, you can already provision 24 or 32 downstream channels to feed those new modems and gateways with Gigabit DOCSIS. Better yet, you don’t have to dedicate those downstream channels to a single service group, just to serve that upper echelon of subscribers. Instead, with our ability (and I’d call it unique) to overlay DOCSIS bonding groups, you can share those downstream channels across multiple service groups, and use them for both your upper and lower tiers. It gets you a much better bang for your CMTS dollars.

By lifting tier speeds incrementally, at the high and low ends, you’re better positioned to fend off would-be competitors with their Gigabit intentions – without overextending your capital resources.

At the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo this week, we’ll be demonstrating and discussing the practical way to get from today’s multi-megabit world, to the Gigabit world. Come by and have a look at Cisco’s booth #1355 at the Georgia World Congress Center.

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