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?

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8 thoughts on “Rural DOCSIS 3.0 Footprint is Expanding

  1. We see cable customers coming back to DSL from cable because of poor service, no local office. They offer faster speeds, but can't back it up with service.

  2. I'd be curious to know what areas Lori and Mike are in. Cable seems to have a lot more YMMV involved than DSL, however upload speeds in particular on cable, particularly the latest wave of high end tiers, puts DSL to shame. Telcos can definitely fight back with fiber on the one hand and pushing service to cable-less areas on the other, but in areas where Time Warner Cable offers 15/2 service and DSL tops out at 12/768 or worse, cable wins.

    I'm curious as to what speeds Armstrong is going to push out with their DOCSIS 3 service (they also have FTTH in some areas). It looks like the magic number might be 20 Mbps down, 3 Mbps up. It's rather interesting to see the wide variety of speeds available on DOCSIS 3, depending on the provider, ranging from 20/2 9Suddenlink) and 50/1 (Sunflower) to 105/10 (Mediacom) and 101/15 (Cablevision). Fortunately, pricing seems to be in line with offered speeds for the most part, no matter what a given cable company's highest-end tier is, though if you don't factor in upload speeds and caps Sunflower's ultra-cheap 50 Mbps service and Cablevision's 101 Mbps service wreck the curve, though CV charges $300 to set you up on 101/15.

    1. Do you have the raw data or a nice graph that shows how these fair on this curve? This would be helpful for us as we consider how to price speeds for FTTH and future D3.

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