DOCSIS 3.1: 9 million served by 2017 says ABI Research

DOCSIS 3.1 technology is still in the field trial stage (see, for example, "Comcast starts DOCSIS 3.1 field trials"). But it won't take long for the technology to be adopted once these trials have reached a successful conclusion, predicts ABI Research. The market research firm forecasts DOCSIS 3.1 will serve approximately 9 million broadband subscribers worldwide as soon as 2017.

DOCSIS 3.1 technology is still in the field trial stage (see, for example, "Comcast starts DOCSIS 3.1 field trials"). But it won't take long for the technology to be adopted once these trials have reached a successful conclusion, predicts ABI Research. The market research firm forecasts DOCSIS 3.1 will serve approximately 9 million broadband subscribers worldwide as soon as 2017.

Cable MSOs plan to use DOCSIS 3.1 as a pathway to gigabit service provision. In its original incarnation, DOCSIS 3.1 is expected to support an aggregate capacity of 10 Gbps downstream and around 1 Gbps upstream (see "CableLabs releases DOCSIS 3.1 chip specifications"). In addition to enabling greater Internet speeds, DOCSIS 3.1 networks will be better able to support upcoming high-definition video formats, such as 4K and HDR.

Technology vendors have rushed to supply transmission equipment capable of supporting DOCSIS 3.1; CableLabs announced its first cable modem certifications earlier this month.

"Technology vendors like SAGEMCOM, Technicolor, and Teleste Corp. already have commercial DOCSIS 3.1 solutions available in the market, which has seen strong response in the Western European region," comments Michael Inouye, principal analyst at ABI Research. "The DOCSIS 3.1-ready products and solutions are able to achieve 1.2-GHz bandwidth, and some, like those from Teleste, started shipping in 2014. Meanwhile, operators in the United States are showing interest, with cable players like Comcast, Cox, and Midcontinent to launch their DOCSIS 3.1 networks in 2016 and 2017."

ABI Research adds in its new findings, part of the company's Set-Top Box and Home Gateway Service, that interest for on-demand services is picking up faster than traditional broadcasting. Cable operators also have reacted to increased competition from content providers.

"European operators like Altice, TDC, and Telenet likewise made inroads into preparing their networks for the launch of DOCSIS 3.1 in 2016," concludes Sam Rosen, managing director and vice president at ABI Research. "Ultimately, in instances in which corporations and homes already installed cable, it is more economical to upgrade cable services than make the switch to fiber, which gives DOCSIS 3.1 a definite advantage in the market space. Thinking ahead, enhanced deployments of ultra-broadband networks could pave the way for cable operators to migrate to a pure IPTV over DOCSIS network, abandoning legacy broadcast QAM technology. However, no major operator is publically investigating that approach."

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