Will APAC MSOs embrace superfast cable?

Tony Brown/Informa Telecoms & Media
19 Oct 2011

I suppose that one day I will be able to glance at a headline containing the term “1Gbps” and not feel an instinctive need to click through to find out more. I guess knowing that somebody out there can get access to such broadband speeds makes me somewhat jealous.

As a result, you can imagine my curiosity when I saw the headline “Virgin Media trials 1.5Gbps broadband speeds powered by Cisco cable access technology.”

The reason for my curiosity was pretty simple: All year FTTH/B operators have told me that they are crushing DSL and cable operators with their massive bandwidth advantages, and yet here was a UK cable player trialling speeds beyond those of any FTTH/B player in the market.

Virgin Media, which battles incumbent player BT’s DSL services in the UK, has yet to announce whether it will proceed to a commercial launch of the 1.5Gbps services. But with BT fast deploying its own FTTH and FTTN services, it would seem likely that Virgin will push to increase the access speeds available to its own subscribers.

In the trial, which took place in East London, Virgin used new technology from Cisco, principally its 3G60 Broadband Processing Engine, a high-density line card for Cisco’s Universal Broadband Router and Cable Modem Termination System, to generate the 1.5Gbps speeds on its DOCSIS 3.0 HFC network.

The business case

For cable MSOs, the advantages of deploying the Cisco technology are pretty obvious. In return for a relatively modest investment, MSOs can offer speeds well in excess of what are being offered by FTTH networks, which typically cost $1,500-$2,000 per household to deploy.

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