Comcast Fighting Fiber with Fiber

– DOCSIS 3.0 not Used for Its 305 Mbps Broadband, Yet
– Netgear-made Router Has Broadcom’s 11ac Chips

When a cable TV company announces faster broadband speeds,
it’s assumed that the technology being used is DOCSIS 3.0 over
the cableco’s hybrid fiber/coax network. That’s what we did
when Comcast announced 305 Mbps down and 65 Mbps up
residential service ($300 a month) to compete against
Verizon’s 300 Mbps offering. But it turns out that the battle
is Comcast fighting fiber with fiber — no coax is involved.

Instead, Comcast is using the fiber-to-the-home (FTTH)
capabilities of its Metro Ethernet platform. It is however
using DOCSIS 3.0 technology for its more widely available 105
Mbps service and has demonstrated DOCSIS 3.0 at speeds of up
to 1 Gbps. Competitor Verizon is offering 300 Mbps down and 65
Mbps up in selected areas of its all fiber FiOS footprint.

Comcast’s 305 Mbps service is called Extreme 305 and is
available in some major markets such as Boston, Philadelphia,
Baltimore and Washington, DC.

Comcast has confirmed that Extreme 305 is delivered, at least
initially, only over an all fiber network and subscribers must
be must be single-dwelling residences that are within a third
of a mile of Comcast’s Metro Ethernet network.

The Netgear Wi-Fi box that subscribers to the 305 Mbps service
get has 802.11ac Wi-Fi chips from Broadcom.

Comcast said its DOCSIS 3.0 network currently provides
broadband to over 50 million homes and is capable of
delivering more than 1 Gbps. It acknowledged that there is
increasing demand for speeds in excess of 200 Mbps, about the
max for its current DOCSIS 3.0 network. That’s why it’s using
its Metro Ethernet network, an all fiber service to compete
against Verizon.

Hitron Technologies, Arris Group and cable modem box makers
are using recently released Intel chips to develop DOCSIS
boxes that can provide downstream speeds in the 1 Gbps range.
Hitron said this week it plans to submit one shortly to
CableLabs for certification, perhaps in February.

It does make you wonder how many homes “really need” 300 Mbps

About the Author

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