Coax CableCable companies see DOCSIS 3.0 (D3) as one of the main weapons in their competitive arsenal. D3 uses ‘channel bonding’ to dramatically increase broadband speeds (both downstream and upstream, but not symmetrically) offered over cable modem service. Cable companies are rolling out D3 products in multiple markets, offering top download speeds ranging from 50 Mbps to 100+ Mbps. Upload speeds seem to be ranging from 10 Mbps to 20 Mbps. Actual average speeds are less, but you get the picture.

Much of the attention surrounding D3 is focused on the urban markets of large national providers like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Cox. But by our estimation, there is significant D3 activity taking place in rural markets as well. Here is a sample of cable MSOs who serve rural markets that have announced D3 deployments:

I’m sure there are others. The introduction of D3 into any market raises the competitive stakes. It’s kind of human nature to choose bigger and faster when it’s available, regardless of whether you actually need it. How else can we explain the success of ‘super sizing’ at McDonalds? The same can be said for broadband. Very few people talk about needing super fast broadband – that is until it’s available.

Telcos, rural and urban, are countering (and beating some would argue) D3 with FTTH. Is that the only option?