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Exclusive: Cox digs in on first FTTH project in O.C.

Wed, 07/24/2013 - 11:10am
Mike Robuck

Cox Communications has embarked on its first fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) project in a new housing development in south Orange County, Calif.

Cox is installing fiber for the Rancho Mission Viejo development with the first phase comprised of 1,000 homes. Over the ensuing years, Cox will serve up fiber to all 14,000 homes in the master-planned community that is five miles from the beach and east of San Juan Capistrano.

Google has garnered a lot of national attention for its 1 Gbps fiber service that’s in parts of Kansas City, Austin, and, eventually, Provo, Utah. CenturyLink, which competes against Cox in some areas, has also booted up a 1 Gig fiber pilot in Omaha, Neb

In regards to Rancho Mission Viejo, Cox is not saying when or if it will offer a 1 Gbps service. Cox Communications spokesman Todd Smith said that for now the product offerings would mostly likely be similar to what Cox offers in other markets. In addition to triple play services, Cox also plans on offering its home security and home automation services.

Smith said it was too early to say what the specific product offerings would be, but if there’s a demand for a 1 Gbps service it will be somewhat easy for Cox to open up the fiber spigot. With Cox keeping its fiber plans close to its chest for now, the greenfield deployment of fiber future proofs the massive development for when the demand for faster speeds increases, and is sure to give competitors pause.

Cox currently has its fasted tier, which features up to 150 Mbps on the downstream, in half of its markets with plans to increase availability throughout this year. The Orange County area is currently served by Cox’s 50 Mbps service. Smith previously said that Cox’s most popular tier is its 25 Mbps service.

On the commercial services side, Cox has already deployed-fiber based services faster than 1 Gbps, and has served business in Omaha with a 10 Gbps offering for some time.

The initial phase of the project, which is called “Sendaro,” had its first open house a few weeks ago and some of the 11 builder neighborhoods are slated to go on sale in October.

Sendaro, which means “path” in Spanish, will feature townhomes, detached single-family homes and apartments. The low-end on the 1,006-square-foot townhomes will be priced around $300,00 while the high-end, 2,000-square-feet plus homes will be in the high $800,000 range.

The entire Rancho Mission Viejo project, which is owned by a company of the same name, is comprised of 23,000 acres that were once part of a ranch that spanned 200,000 acres. The Sendaro development sits on 690 acres.

Builders have already added swimming pools, recreation facilities, parks and hiking trails in the area.  

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