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To 1 GHz…and beyond!

Sat, 03/31/2007 - 8:00pm
Jeff Baumgartner, Editor-in-Chief

With apologies to Buzz Lightyear, it appears that cable operators are, at last, starting to give much attention to the idea of expanding bandwidth to support new apps and services, including those that will drive real revenue (which will certainly keep the scare scale on Wall Street down to palatable levels).

Jeff Baumgartner
Jeff Baumgartner
Editor-In-Chief

What a difference a half-decade can make. Although switched broadcast remains a hot topic, and will certainly provide operators with some incremental bandwidth aid, at least the idea of bandwidth expansion is no longer met only with utter disdain.

So let’s start with a move to 1 GHz. A top engineer with a big U.S. MSO has already relayed that such an expansion “has some real legs to it,” and the spectrum between 860 MHz and 1 GHz looks like a “perfect spot” for channel bonding.

What about a jump to 3 GHz? Now there’s a story that has changed dramatically. One had to feel for the poor souls at Vyyo who tried to peddle that technology to Wall Street-conscious operators five years ago. These days, it’s starting to show some real potential. StarHub of Singapore plans to use it in greenfields today, and likely brownfields further out. Cox has already approved its use for business services. An analyst has cited Comcast among the operators testing Vyyo’s gear. Plus, two heavy-hitting and influential cable engineers have joined the executive ranks of Vyyo–Wayne Davis as CEO; Jim Chiddix as vice chairman–so that will certainly help the cause.

Spectrum enhancements aside, let’s not forget that fiber-to-the-home technologies could also play a part in this trend, at least in new residential areas where builders believe the mere presence of FTTH can deliver premium prices. There’s no shortage of FTTH technologies optimized to work in conjunction with existing cable headends and set-tops. CommScope has finally revealed the name of its entrant: “BrightPath” (you probably knew it by its code name–“Epiphany”–when it was being shown off at recent trade confabs). CommScope has been relatively hush-hush about the mere existence of the product, but considering that CommScope featured BrightPath in an ad that appeared on the back page of the ET 2007 program, I think it’s fair game now. Also in this mix is Alloptic, which already has BendBroadband on its deployment scoreboard.

Final note: It is with a heavy heart that I announce that this is my last issue with CED, as I have stepped down as the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief effective Thursday, March 29. I have thoroughly enjoyed my seven-year affiliation with CED and the amazing (and battle-hardened) people behind it who have displayed such a tremendous passion for our monthly print magazine as well as CED’s electronic products. In my stead, Brian Santo, CED’s senior editor, will take on an expanded role with the magazine, and I am confident that he and the CED team, as well as its trusted stable of freelance contributors, will continue to deliver high-quality news products covering the business of broadband that you, the reader, can count on.

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