BigBand Networks has revealed the names of two international cable operators that are conducting trials of the vendor's implementation of the modular cable modem termination system (M-CMTS).

Those operators - Multikabel of the Netherlands and LiWest Kabelmedien of Austria - are participating in BigBand's Early Access Program (EAP), which seeks MSOs interested in taking an early run at the benefits of the M-CMTS, including downstream channel bonding.

Multikabel and LiWest have completed successful lab trials of M-CMTS and downstream channel bonding functions, with field trials on deck, according to BigBand Director of Product Marketing Roger Slyk.

He said BigBand has eight different trials with EAP participants, with participating operators "evenly distributed" in Asia, Europe and North America. BigBand expects to increase the number of trials in the first quarter of next year.

BigBand plans to release a downstream channel bonding platform for commercial availability in Q1 2007.

Channel bonding, a feature of the DOCSIS 3.0 platform, will enable operators to push throughputs beyond 100 Mbps. Offering such speeds was a competitive issue "even two years ago" for operators in Europe and Asia, and has come under the microscope more recently for MSOs in North America, Slyk said.

At a high level, the CableLabs-specified M-CMTS platform will allow operators to scale services better by mixing and matching QAM resources for data and video services, including video-on-demand, traditional broadcast and switched broadcast video. Elements that are decoupled from the traditional CMTS include Layer 2/3 packet processing, DOCSIS packet processing, as well as upstream and downstream bandwidth.

Under BigBand's implementation, the Cuda12000 will perform the upstream function, while downstream capacity is added via its BEQ6000 universal edge QAM.