CableLabs Completes Full Duplex DOCSIS Specification… Here’s Why It May Not Matter

I came across this press release from CableLabs which is behind the DOCSIS standard that is used by most if not all cable companies that deliver Internet access to consumers. In that press release CableLabs announces that they’ve completed the Full Duplex DOCSIS 3.1 specification which will allow speeds of up to 10Gbps both upstream and downstream for those of us who get their Internet from a cable company.

So that’s a good thing right? Well, not so fast.

Any sort of deployment may be up to five years away. And it will likely require that cable companies upgrade equipment, and in turn force you to upgrade the cable hardware that your cable company provides you. But here’s the key point. Companies that deliver fiber to the home are way ahead of any cable company. Take Bell for example who have been aggressively rolling out their Fibe gigabit offering which at present is 1Gbps downstream and 940 Mbps upstream. And they are promising to punt that up to 4 Gbps both ways in the near future and 40 Gbps both ways within five years. This is why I’ve been saying for a while that Bell has the upper hand when it comes to Internet access in Canada. Any other telco who is doing what Bell is doing is in a similar position. Which leaves any cable operator on the back foot as a result.

Thus this announcement is interesting. But I think it’s too little too late for cable companies who are clearly behind the eight ball and there’s no scenario where they will come out on top in this situation.



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