STMicroelectronics has become the latest silicon maker to have a go at a set-top chip that features DOCSIS channel bonding.

ST's front-end chipset, dubbed the STV0498, supports the DOCSIS 2.0 spec, but "is fully compatible" with the DOCSIS 3.0 channel bonding scheme, the company claimed. ST's version, similar to implementations from ST's rival, can bond up to three downstream channels - enough to support up to 120 Mbps. Also holding true to the emerging DOCSIS 3.0 specs, ST's chip will support both IPv4 and IPv6 addressing.

ST noted that the new chipset complements its STV0297 QAM demodulator product family, which, ST claimed, is deployed in north of 30 million cable set-tops.

ST is pricing the STV0498 at $16 each, in quantities of 10,000. The company is presently offering "engineering samples" of the new chip, with volume production slated for Q3 2007.

As DOCSIS 3.0 gear continues to develop, modem and chip makers have continued to apply a short-term focus on pre-3.0 implementations that bond multiple DOCSIS 2.0 downstream channels.

Products that comply with the full 3.0 specs will be capable of increasing speeds by bonding both downstream and upstream channels.

ST marks the latest silicon vendor to introduce a set-top chipset that can bond downstream DOCSIS channels. Conexant Systems introduced its version - the CX24455X - in mid-February. Broadcom Corp. bowed an integrated chipset with channel bonding capabilities for cable set-tops in January 2007.