Altice to leapfrog DOCSIS 3.1 with fiber-to-the-home initiative

Dec. 1, 2016

Cable operator Altice said it plans to implement 10-Gb/s fiber-to-the-home across its entire network, thereby competing with Verizon’s Fios, according to Shalini Ramachandran in The Wall Street Journal. Altice will thereby avoid the intermediate step of deploying DOCSIS 3.1.

Ramachandran quotes Altice chief executive Dexter Goei as saying fiber will always be superior to DOCSIS 3.1 and will serve increasing demand for bandwidth over the next two to five years. Adds Ramachandran, “He also believes that 5G, a coming wireless standard that AT&T and Verizon have said may rival cable broadband’s speeds, will never match the performance of fiber.”

DOCSIS 3.1 can produce downstream speeds of 10 Gb/s and upstream speeds of 1 Gb/s when equipped with the proper devices and ideal network settings, according to ABI Research, which forecasts that 9 million subscribers will use DOCSIS 3.1 equipment in 2017.

Notes Ramachandran, “Altice’s announcement marks the most ambitious fiber-to-the-home rollout yet from a major U.S. cable operator. The European telecom group earlier this year closed a deal to buy Cablevision Systems Corp., a longtime New York cable operator, and last year bought Suddenlink Communications, which serves customers in more rural markets.”

She adds that Altice USA has 4.6 million home and business customers in 20 states and cites a Verizon spokesperson as saying Fios is available to nearly 14 million homes and businesses.

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