Cox Hits Gas on Gigabit Rollout

Alan Breznick
News Analysis
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading
1/10/2018



With its rollout of DOCSIS 3.1 technology beginning to pick up steam, Cox Communications says it now offers 1-gig broadband service to 40% of the customers in its footprint, up considerably from a year ago.

In an announcement made late Tuesday at CES, where the cableco is providing both wired and wireless broadband services at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Cox Communications Inc. indicated that its gigabit rollout pace will keep picking up now that it's deploying DOCSIS 3.1 over its hybrid fiber-coax (HFC) wires. Previously, the company relied primarily on deploying fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks to new housing developments to offer its "Gigablast" service.

Cox, the third-largest US cable operator with more than 4 million broadband subscribers, started offering gigabit service over fiber in select areas in the spring of early 2014, becoming the first major US MSO to do so. But, while it gradually expanded its 1-gig reach to each of its major markets, it has fallen behind both giant MSOs like Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and smaller ones like Mediacom Communications Corp. and WideOpenWest Holdings LLC (WOW) in blanketing its footprint with the faster speeds.

That's largely because those three other cable operators, as well as a few more, have been faster to deploy DOCSIS 3.1 over their HFC lines. In contrast, Cox didn't start employee trials of D3.1 service until last summer. (See Cox Ready to Cruise Ahead With D3.1.)


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But now that it has started deploying D3.1, Cox is picking up the gigabit rollout pace substantially. Having hit its target of 40% footprint coverage by the start of 2018, the cableco aims to reach 99% of its households by the close of next year. (See Cox Aims for 'Gig for All' by 2020.)

To support the D3.1 upgrade, Cox is installing new converged cable access platform (CCAP) systems throughout its networks. The plan was for about a third of the new CCAPs to be installed by the end of last year. More broadly, Cox is putting fiber lines deeper into its networks as it moves towards a node-plus-zero (N+0) architecture, similar to the strategy that Comcast and other major MSOs are now pursuing.

Cox, which has invested more than $15 billion in infrastructure upgrades over the past decade, said it will pump at least $10 billion more into its networks over the next five years to boost broadband speeds and improve service further.

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

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