Charter Customer GuaranteeThe launch of Charter DOCSIS 3.1 gigabit internet service on the Hawaiian island of Oahu today marks the company’s first residential DOCSIS 3.1 deployment supporting gigabit speeds, the company said. The service will sell for $104.99 a month for new customers.

In a press release, Charter also noted that it is doubling the minimum speed of its internet service on Oahu to 200 Mbps at no additional cost.

Additionally, the cableco pledged to bring its gigabit service, dubbed Spectrum Internet Gig, to other areas in “the coming months.”

Charter DOCSIS 3.1 Gigabit
Among cablecos, Comcast has been the most aggressive in deploying gigabit service using DOCSIS 3.1 technology. Some other cablecos have used fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) infrastructure to support gigabit launches — including Bright House, which Charter has since acquired.

While DOCSIS 3.1 can support gigabit service, some cable companies are growing increasingly concerned about the technology’s ability to support large numbers of gigabit customers. As a result, they are exploring a virtualized distributed access architecture (vDAA) approach that reduces the number of homes served from a single node, sometimes by bringing fiber deeper into the network.

Moving forward, some industry stakeholders expect to see cable companies deploying a mixture of vDAA and FTTH to support gigabit services. Cableco FTTH is likely to be different from what major telcos such as AT&T and Verizon have deployed, however. While telco FTTH is based largely on GPON, cablecos are more likely to use EPON, sources say.

Cablecos also are expected to deploy full-duplex DOCSIS technology. This widely anticipated technology is designed to give cablecos the ability to offer more symmetrical service. Currently DOCSIS provides considerably faster speed downstream than upstream, and some telcos have been touting their symmetrical FTTH-based service as superior.

Among telcos, Verizon initially was most aggressive in deploying FTTH. But more recently AT&T has undertaken ambitious FTTH deployment plans, increasingly the pressure on cablecos to upgrade their networks.