Cable Modem front

Cable One, a diversified broadband provider operating the Sparklight, Fidelity, ValuNet Fiber and Hargray brands, is on a path to launch 10 Gbps service, the company announced this week.

Cable One says it already makes gigabit service available to 99% of its footprint across 24 states, first offering it back in 2016. The traditional cable MSO made the shift to a broadband focus many years ago and claims to have invested over $770 million in its network to expand gigabit broadband availability.

The company now is actively upgrading its network to facilitate DOCSIS 4.0, which is the cable industry’s answer to the proliferation of fiber broadband from primarily telco competitors. Truth be told though, it’s really hard these days to distinguish between telcos, cable companies, overbuilders, and whatever other term we want to come up with to define a broadband service provider.

Cable One serves over a million customers across all of its brands. The upgrade to DOCSIS 4.0 involves upgrading the operator’s return path to facilitate symmetrical multi-gig service. In Cable One’s case, it is reclaiming spectrum that was historically used for linear video transmission and upgrading its HFC plant to 1.8 GHz.

“Gig speed is just the beginning of the story,” said Julie Laulis, Cable One President and CEO in a prepared statement. “We are implementing the upgrades needed to our networks in order to bring multi-Gig symmetrical speeds to our residential customers in the next few years and ensure that we continue to stay well ahead of the consumer consumption curve.”

The broader cable industry is embracing its R&D arm CableLabs’ 10G initiative, which lays out a technical specification for 10 Gbps service over existing HFC networks. Referred to as the DOCSIS 4.0 standard, the upgraded service should allow cable operators to offer 10 Gbps downstream and 6 Gbps upstream, enabling symmetrical multi-gig service.

There’s a bit of a race to reach 10 Gbps capability, with fiber operators on their own path. XGS-PON and NG-PON2 are equipping fiber operators to offer symmetrical 10 Gbps capability. Many fiber operators, large and small, have announced migration plans to these new standards.

To my earlier ‘distinguishing’ point, there are also quite a few traditional cable operators embracing the fiber path over DOCSIS 4.0.

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