Full steam ahead for Mediacom's all-digital project
Mediacom Communications has handed out more than 74,000 digital terminal adapters in and around Cedar Rapids as the company continues to work on its first major all-digital conversion project.
It's been a busy past few weeks for Mediacom, with the company going private  under the ownership of founder, Chairman and CEO Rocco Commisso and the media dustup over ads being inserted onto Web pages  by the cable operator, but the company's analog-to-digital conversion project is well underway in a nine-county area of eastern Iowa.
"The response has been pretty amazing," said Thomas Larsen, Mediacom's group vice president of legal and public affairs. "Our customers see that there is value to going all-digital."
Mediacom passed out around 4,000 DTAs during open house events at its Cedar Rapids and Iowa City offices last Friday and Saturday. Mediacom is using DTAs from Technicolor for the project.
By going to an all-digital lineup, Mediacom will be able to offer more HD channels and faster DOCSIS 3.0 speeds with the additional bandwidth that becomes available.
Currently, business and residential subscribers served by the Cedar Rapids headend have access to Mediacom's Ultra 50 wideband service, which features downstream speeds of up to 50 Mbps and upstream speeds up to 5 Mbps. Once the all-digital conversion is completed, Mediacom will launch its Ultra 105 DOCSIS 3.0-enabled tier that has a downstream speed of up to 105 Mbps coupled with an upstream speed of up to 10 Mbps.
While Mediacom hasn't announced which HD channels will become available, Larsen said there would be at least 27 new HD channels and possibly 30 thanks to the all-digital conversion.
The breakdown of the HD channels and tiers includes:
- Free HD Family Cable – 14 channels
- Digital Plus HD – seven channels (with possibly three more additions)
- HD premiums – five channels
- HD PPV – one channel
In addition, Mediacom basic subscribers who use the DTAs on their non-digital TVs will have access to 15 digital basic channels once the project is completed.
While some cable operators have chosen to free up additional bandwidth through switched digital video implementations, Comcast has led the way on all-digital conversions  over the past few years.