Cox Communications has joined the burgeoning ranks of cable operators that have deployed faster DOCSIS 3.0-based data services with today’s announcement that the nation’s third-largest cable operator has rolled out the service in Lafayette Parish,
Cox’s “Ultimate Internet” service features download speeds of up to 50 Mbps and upstream speeds of up to 5 Mbps. A spokesman for Cox said promotional pricing will vary by market, but the standard price is $139.99 for Ultimate Internet.
Last year, Comcast and Videotron rolled out 50 Mbps services, and Comcast has said it plans on having DOCSIS 3.0 in 65 percent of its footprint by the end of the year.
Last month, Cox’s Jay Rolls, senior vice president of technology architecture, told CED that Cox had several DOCSIS 3.0 trials underway, but Lafayette Parish is Cox’s first announced DOCSIS 3.0-enabled deployment.
In addition to Lafayette Parish, Cox plans to offer Ultimate Internet to several more markets by the end of this year, and to more than two-thirds of its footprint in 2010.
DOCSIS 3.0 uses channel bonding, a technology that can bond parallel cable channels to transmit data at faster speeds.
A spokesman for Cox said it’s bonding two to four downstream channels as the 3.0 tiers are rolled out. Cox is using cable modems and modular cable modem termination systems (M-CMTSs) from Cisco in the Lafayette Parish deployment, but the cable operator is also testing DOCSIS 3.0 equipment from Motorola.
“Speed continues to be one of the top reasons customers choose broadband service, and Cox has been a leader in delivering the best value of speed and features for the money,” said Seth Hogan, vice president of data product management for Cox. “Cox was one of the first ISPs in the country to begin offering customers a choice among speeds with our tiers of Internet service; we’re excited to add our new Ultimate Internet package to meet our most avid Internet users’ need for speed.”
Cox Business Internet Ultra is also available to customers in Lafayette Parish starting this week. While Cox Business offers several fiber-based advanced data tiers with higher speeds, the Ultra package gives small- to medium-size businesses additional speeds at a lower cost than fiber.
“More than four million customers have chosen Cox as their trusted provider of Internet services, thanks to the strength and reliability of our fiber-rich network,” Rolls said. “Since 1996, we’ve invested more than $16 billion to deploy and continuously upgrade our broadband network, which is available across our footprint. We plan to continue investments in technology like DOCSIS 3.0 to ensure we’re meeting the bandwidth needs of our customers.”
DOCSIS 3.0 can achieve downstream broadband speeds of up to 160 Mbps by bonding 6 MHz – or in the case of Europe and some parts of Asia and Latin America, 8 MHz – channels together. DOCSIS upstream channel bonding can provide up to 120 Mbps of shared throughput for cable operators.
Current requirements for DOCSIS 3.0 call for equipment to support channel bonding on at least four upstream and four downstream channels, although the platform gives operators the flexibility to bond as few as two channels to meet market needs and competition.