Competitive broadband and video provider WOW announced yesterday that it had launched gigabit service in several markets nationwide. To support the WOW gigabit service, the company brought fiber to a neighborhood node and will use existing coax from that point to individual homes, a WOW spokesperson confirmed in an email to Telecompetitor.

WOW Gigabit
WOW announced back in October that it planned to use a deep fiber approach that would bring fiber closer to end users. While some cable companies are offering gigabit service without deploying deep fiber, a deep fiber approach can increase the number of customers that a provider can serve with high-speed service. A spokesperson for WOW supplier Nokia told us back in October that WOW planned to serve no more than 100 customers per neighborhood node. (story continues below)

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As an alternative to bringing fiber closer to the end user, some cable companies may opt to increase capacity by simply splitting existing nodes. But whether they simply split nodes or move nodes closer to end users, cablecos are looking to move to a virtual Distributed Access Architecture (vDAA) – a new approach that relies heavily on software defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV). With the vDAA approach, cablecos can avoid the need to install additional CMTS/CCAP equipment in the headend by virtualizing that functionality and moving it deeper into the network.

A third option for cablecos wanting to support more high-speed customers is to deploy fiber all the way to the home. The WOW spokesperson said the company had done some limited experimentation with that deployment in the past for residential customers. But FTTH does not appear to be part of WOW’s gigabit plans.

In November, WOW said it planned to make gigabit service available to 95% of its service area by early this year. Today’s news suggests deep fiber may play an important role in supporting those deployments.

WOW deep fiber/ gigabit markets announced today include:

  • Augusta and West Point, Georgia
  • Charleston, S.C.
  • Chicago and Naperville, Illinois
  • Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio
  • Detroit
  • Panama City and Pinellas, Florida
  • Valley, Alabama