DOCSIS 3.0: Blazing Speeds, Even Hotter Uptake

You kinda have to wonder how long it'll be before high-speed data service becomes cable's bread and butter, even above video delivery. It's a high-margin business -- no programmers or mega-corp content providers to deal with (mostly), just a little bit of hardwa...

Content Dam Btr Migrated 2011 01 D3
Content Dam Btr Migrated 2011 01 D3You kinda have to wonder how long it'll be before high-speed data service becomes cable's bread and butter, even above video delivery. It's a high-margin business -- no programmers or mega-corp content providers to deal with (mostly), just a little bit of hardware (relatively speaking), a few connections (again, relatively speaking), and the occasional peering squabble (as with Comcast and Level3). But overall, not bad.

Better yet, high-speed data is the foundation of lots of other nifty things: IP video, multiscreen plays, over-the-top (OTT), entrée into the lucrative business services market, everything everywhere. The very concept of "cord cutting" is impossible without it. And it's largely made possible by DOCSIS, just a funky acronym a dozen years ago, but now well established as DOCSIS 3.0.

About this time last year, we asked a number of vendors what to watch for in 2010, and "D3" was a biggie. They were right. By all indications, D3 is here, it's now and it's happenin'. Products abound, and deployments are through the roof. The sheer volume is a little daunting, but here goes:

In just the last six months or so, we've reported on many D3 deployments in North America, Europe and Asia with such operators as Cogeco, Insight, UPC, Euskatel, HCN, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Sunflower Broadband. Even in markets where D3 isn't actually deployed yet, new high-speed data subs often get D3 modems so they'll be ready when the op flips the switch.

In other D3 news, vendors such as Mictrotune and Ubee posted major (as in millions) milestones in tuners and EMTAs shipped, respectively. Cisco and KDG trialed 1-Gig downstream service in Germany.

CableLabs made news with, of all things, an Emmy, as well as its continuing work on certifications, IPv6 and other interop activities. The SCTE's first-ever CTO is a DOCSIS co-author, and D3 figured prominently in the Society's 2010 Expo workshop lineup.

Speaking of Expo, you couldn't throw a rock in any direction without hitting some sort of D3 product in New Orleans this year. The big CMTS and modem/EMTA/gateway vendors were there, of course, but so were a lot of folks who provide supporting structures, so to speak: chipsets, software, test and measurement, optics, and on and on. Just a few of the vendor names that keep popping up around D3 include (in no particular order) Arris, Cisco, Microtune, Technicolor, Incognito, JDSU, Trilithic, Anadigics, Electroline, BigBand, Moto, SENCORE, ATX, SMC, Cheetah, Pulse, Aurora, Sandvine, Broadcom and CommScope. And we've probably missed some. The market is that big.

So, yeah, DOCSIS 3.0 has made it to the big leagues. Big time.

Ron Hendrickson is a reporter at BTR. Contact him at ron@broadbandtechreport.com.
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