Nokia's 10 Gbps-capable HFC technology will enable cable to battle AT&T, Verizon for broadband dollars

BOSTON -- Nokia Bell Labs' demonstration of 10 Gbps symmetrical download and upload speeds over a existing hybrid fiber coax (HFC) cable plant will allow cable operators to more rapidly inject gigabit speeds into their networks to ward off broadband competition.

Nokia's new development could be an important weapon for cable providers seeking to fight off competitors like AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) with ultra-fast fiber-like offerings. But unlike these two operators, which have to build out new fiber facilities to homes and businesses, cable operators will be able to leverage their existing HFC plant, saving them capital on new gigabit service deployments.

Nokia's proof of concept access technology, dubbed XG-CABLE, used point-to-point cable topologies to deliver 10 Gbps symmetric data speeds over coaxial cable using 1.2 GHz of spectrum. Nokia says the test is the culmination of work that began in 2014.

Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA), which is rolling out 1 Gbps services in selects markets, sounds excited about what XG-CABLE could mean for its own expanding DOCSIS 3.1 deployment.

"While it is still early in the development of full duplex, Nokia's XG Cable proof of concept shows that multi-Gigabit symmetrical speeds over HFC, as targeted in the CableLabs FDX initiative, are achievable," said Dr. Robert Howald, vice president of network architecture at Comcast Cable, in a statement. "As we continue our DOCSIS 3.1 deployments this year, this development further illustrates the power and flexibility of the DOCSIS 3.1 as a tool to deliver next-generation broadband performance."

Nokia is being careful not to declare XG-CABLE as ready for primetime, but the company is already touting the technology for integration into the CableLabs new Full Duplex DOSCIS 3.1 concept. Nokia says XG-CABLE will allow MSOs to use existing HFC cables over the last 200 meters to provide upstream speeds that were previously impossible due to limited spectrum available.

In February, CableLabs introduced new technology promising full duplex symmetrical speeds within DOCSIS 3.1 environments without the need for adding fiber.

"In Full Duplex communication, the upstream and downstream traffic use the same spectrum at the same time, doubling the efficiency of spectrum use. A DOCSIS 3.1 Full Duplex network provides the peak speeds and flexibility of TDD solutions, but one-ups both TDD and FDD with double the capacity," CableLabs wrote in a blog post.

For more:
- see this press release

Related articles:
Comcast rolls out DOCSIS 3.1-powered advanced trials in Atlanta
CableLabs says full duplex DOCSIS 3.1 could be here soon
CableLabs 'duplex' project aims to deliver symmetrical gigabit speeds via DOCSIS 3.1