Get ready to place "bandwidth" in the on-demand category alongside video, music and games.

Buckeye CableSystem, in partnership with Camiant, is laying the groundwork for a bandwidth-on-demand service that leverages the emerging PacketCable Multimedia (PCMM) architecture.

For the deployment, Buckeye will enlist the Camiant QBUS policy server, and the vendor's Bandwidth on Demand Application Manager. The policy server and application manager are two primary elements of PCMM, a CableLabs-specified architecture that injects quality of service into IP-based applications and services.

Initially, Buckeye plans to use PCMM to support its four data tiers (8 Mbps/768 kbps, 5 Mbps/512 kbps, 1.5 Mbps/128 kbps, and 96 kbps symmetrical). The system will allow customers to test a faster tier without having to reboot their cable modems, noted Ed Delaney, Camiant's vice president of marketing and business development.

The platform will also enable Buckeye to allow temporary speed increases for specific applications. A customer on a PCMM-enabled network could use a "turbo button" to ratchet up speeds to upload photos more quickly to a digital photo service, for example.

The MSO is also interested in supporting video conferencing and gaming applications with PCMM, said Buckeye Chief Technology Officer Joe Jensen.

He added that Buckeye is still awaiting some PCMM software for all of the components on the system. Motorola, he added, was expected to have its cable modem termination system PCMM code ready for primetime by February. Jensen said he's optimistic that Buckeye can begin to introduce these enhanced features by the second quarter.

Although 2005 was marked by a couple of deployments, 2006 could be a big year for PCMM.

"In 2006, you'll see every major operator do something with PCMM," Delaney said. "They've all done the lab trials at this point."