Give the cable industry their due – they’re performing quite well relative to broadband market share, at least in tier one markets. As you progress towards more rural markets, telcos are performing better against their rural cable competitors. This cable broadband prowess is one of many reasons that telco competitiors use to justify moving to FTTH.

One issue where cable broadband is somewhat disadvantaged is upstream bandwidth. While they can offer good download speeds, their upload speeds are somewhat less impressive, especially in a world of video sharing and mission critical enterprise applications.

It’s an area where FTTH competitors like Verizon with their FiOS offer stress some competitive advantage. There’s a reason why fiber providers make symmetrical bandwidth options available to end customers. The best upload speed I could find advertised for Comcast is 10 Mb/s, whereas FiOS offers 50 Mb/s. It’s particularly acute with lower end tiers as well, with FiOS offering 5 Mb/s upstream on their lowest end tier, while Comcast offers only 1 Mb/s on a comparable offer.

But progress is happening for cable. Comcast is using channel bonding techniques to get upstream bandwidth much higher – reaching speeds of 75 Mb/s. More recently Cox and Motorola announced some trials in Cox’s Las Vegas market (lookout CenturyLink), where they claimed a new upstream “…record of 356 Mbps for a 5-85 MHz return path…”

Those ‘record results’ are not what end users would see, but is illustrative of the progress being made by the cable industry with upstream bandwidth.

How long before the FTTH upstream bandwidth advantage is neutralized? Is it already?

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2 thoughts on “Cable Broadband’s Achilles Heel Being Addressed?

  1. @Tim don't apologize for them, if they had taken the billions they have already received since the 1990s and built out their Fiber offerings, there would be NO broadband issues at all. Please tell me you understand that bandwidth scarcity is a myth used to extort higher monthly prices from customers.

    Here in America the Telcos received over $900 Billion to give customers Fiber….Where's the Fiber? On top of this their industry (which includes Cable and Cellular) is reported to spend in excess of $1.5Million per week lobbying against competition…most of which is FTTH!

    I applaud the focus on upstream bandwidth as this is the critical for a home user to stream content without pause, skipping or interruption via the Internet. Whenever my content stream stops, skips, etc… my DD-WRT enabled firewall/router's bandwidth monitoring log shows how severely throttled my service is. I pay $60.99 for 16Mb/2Mb but only get approx 100K-300K/30K-60K the majority of the time.

    Perhaps in future articles you can find a user in the community, using the network being talked about that is running DD-WRT, OpenWRT or tomato (IPv6 ready) on their firewall/router and can tell you what their throttled upstream bandwidth is. That would be telling.

    In America there are less than 30 communities that offer synchronous bandwidth, the same upstream as downstream. They are also FTTH communities ONLY. Any other technology is a waste of time IMO.

    There should be thousands of communities in America with synchronous FTTH bandwidth, we have are so-called friends at the telcos – cable companies – cellular to thank for their political obstructionism.

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