Liberty Global will trial DOCSIS 3.1 in early 2016

Liberty Global said that it is currently testing DOCSIS 3.1 in the lab and will be ready for live trials of the technology in early 2016. Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries made the comments about DOCSIS 3.1 during the company's earnings call last week. He also said that 80 percent of the company's cable footprint will have DOCSIS 3.1 in about three years. 

Fries also said that a DOCSIS 3.1 rollout will cost about $22 per home, excluding the cost of customer premises equipment, including modems.

According to CableLabs, DOCSIS 3.1 provides theoretical speeds of 10 Gbps downstream and 1 Gbps upstream, depending on equipment deployed and network conditions, while boosting capacity by as much as 50 percent and reducing latency. DOCSIS 3.1 can be deployed over cable companies' existing hybrid-fiber coaxial infrastructure.

The move toward DOCSIS 3.1 is being driven in part by the movement of major phone companies, such as AT&T and CenturyLink, which are deploying fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP). Verizon has also been deploying FTTP throughout its footprint, which is primarily in the Northeast.  

Cable companies do have other options. MaxLinear CEO Kishore Seendripu recently said that there is "meaningful" opportunity for deploying DOCSIS 3.0 modems capable of Gigabit speeds. Hitron recently introduced the CDA3-35, a 32-channel DOCSIS 3.0 modem.

Comcast recently indicated that it would trial DOCSIS 3.1 during the fourth quarter of this year, with wide-scale deployments of the technology beginning in 2016. Comcast is also making FTTP available in some markets. 

IHS recently predicted that one-third of residential cable subscribers globally will have DOCSIS 3.1 technology by April 2017. In the U.S., IHS said about 17 million cable homes will have access to DOCSIS 3.1 by April 2017.

Other DOCSIS 3.1 developments were announced at a CableLabs conference last week in Keystone, Colo.,  including STMicroelectronics, which announced the development of a DOCSIS 3.1-capable chipset for modems, media terminal adapters and video gateways.

Broadcom also announced a DOCSIS-compatible 10G Ethernet Passive Optical Networking (PON) residential gateway reference design. The chipmaker indicated that, by adhering to certain CableLabs specifications, the item will allow the PON gateway to look and function like a traditional DOCSIS gateway.

For more:
- see this Multichannel News article

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