coax cable

Cable broadband MSO Astound said today that it has upgraded its entire broadband footprint to support speeds of 1.2 Gbps downstream and 50 Mbps upstream. In addition, the company unveiled the Astound TV+ app, which enables video subscribers to stream live TV and free On Demand programs in and out of the home when connected to Wi-Fi.

According to the Astound web page, the 1.2 Gbps service will sell for $54.99 a month without a contract. The company also offers 1 Gbps service for $44.99 a month.

As telcos have been upgrading their fiber broadband networks to support speeds of a gigabit per second or more, cable companies have been responding by upgrading their hybrid fiber coax/DOCSIS infrastructure to also support gigabit speeds – at least on the downstream path.

HFC infrastructure was originally designed to deliver video content, with more bandwidth dedicated to the downstream path. The cable industry has been working hard to figure out ways to increase bandwidth in both directions, particularly on the upstream path, but cable companies’ ability to deliver the highest speeds bi-directionally remains limited, as the Astound news illustrates.

An Astound spokesperson did not immediately reply to an inquiry from Telecompetitor asking for additional information about how the company boosted speeds. But the approaches that cable companies are using to do so include moving to a distributed access architecture and reducing the number of households served from a single node by splitting the node or taking fiber deeper into the network.

The cable industry is prepping for DOCSIS 4.0, which promises to give cable operators symmetrical multi-gig capability to better compete with fiber broadband.

Astound TV+ App

The Astound TV+ app is available at no charge to Astound video subscribers. In addition to working on iOS or Android phones and tablets, the app works on “select” Android TVs, Apple TVs and Fire TV devices.

Capabilities of the Astround TV+ App include:

  • Streaming on five devices simultaneously; up to 12 devices can be registered
  • Start Over – lets users start a show over from the beginning, even as it is airing
  • Catch Up- enables users to watch a program that aired up to three days earlier
  • DVR recording scheduling- up to 125 hours
  • Integrated search across live TV, On Demand, recording and streaming apps

Astound is the company that was created from acquisitions of RCN, Grande, Wave and enTouch.

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