Docsis 3.1: The Final Frontier?

2012-10-24 16:24:20

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Cable-Tec Expo -- YAS Capital Partners President and CEO Rouzbeh Yassini is considered by many in industry tech circles to be the "father" of the cable modem, so it follows that we checked in with him at the show to get his thoughts as his baby grows up to become Docsis 3.1.
Yassini has lobbied for years that Docsis is in need of a refresh to keep pace with anticipated broadband demand, so he's pleased that the industry, led by CableLabs , is pursuing a more efficient platform that targets 10Gbit/s downstream and 1Gbit/s upstream.
But does Docsis 3.1 represent the final stage of life for cable's long-time IP data platform before it gives way to fiber-to-the-home (FTTH)?
The short answer: It depends.
The Docsis 3.1 specs are still under development, so it's not yet known if they will include all of the potential optimizations and bells and whistles right off the bat, or if this version will take a more marginal approach and leave some room for a new 3.x version down the road.
If cable decides to go "all-in" with Docsis 3.1, it could indeed mark the final step before cable considers pulling fiber all the way to the home ... even if that step does not have to be taken for many years. And if that's the plan, what will the costs be, and can the vendors live on the resulting product margins?
"Right now our vendors are really pushed to their limits with the cost, cost, cost ... so enabling them [those Docsis 3.1] features might be an issue," Yassini said.
Yassini addresses that question at the 3:14 mark in the video below. During the interview, he also discusses what Docsis 3.1 sets out to accomplish, the operational and business issues MSOs will need to solve during the migration phase, and how long the wait will be for certified 3.1 products.

Comcast & Rogers Plow $15M Into Telepresence
The venture capital arms of Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and Rogers Communications Inc. (Toronto: RCI) have made a combined US$15 million strategic investment inTely Labs , a company that cut its teeth making video conferencing gear for consumers that relies on Skype Ltd. , but has since branched out with a higher-end "business edition" that costs about $500 per location and connects up to six offices simultaneously. Menlo Park, Calif.-based Tely Labs was founded in 2010. Comcast, by the way, already offers a Skype-TV product in partnership withTechnicolor SA (Euronext Paris: TCH; NYSE: TCH) for consumers, but Tely Labs's new entry is targeted at the small and mid-sized business market, which has turned into an important growth engine for cable operators.
Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) added 10,700 video subs in the third quarter, reversing a year-ago loss of 5,700, as the U.K.'s largest cable operator continues to make hay with its TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) partnership. Virgin added 205,900 new TiVo users in the second quarter, ending the period with 1.14 million such users, representing 30 percent of its TV customer base. Virgin Media also turned a third-quarter profit of £123.9 million (US$198.4 million), versus a year-ago loss of £73.8 million ($118.2 million), on revenues of about £1.03 billion (US$1.60 billion), up 2.8 percent. Virgin said it will introduce a new feature called Virgin TV Anywhere "in the coming weeks" that will let customers stream live TV channels to iOS devices, alongside "thousands of hours" of VoD that is also accessible on PCs.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ)'s video joint venture with Redbox Automated Retail LLC is "very close" to launching, and rollouts are expected to begin during the current quarter, company CFO Fran Shammo said during the company's third-quarter earnings call. The joint venture, called Redbox Instant by Verizon, has not released pricing, but analysts see it fetching $8 to $10 per month for unlimited streaming and two to three disc rentals as it prepares to take on Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX), notes Home Media Magazine.
Vicki Lins, an exec late of Canoe Ventures LLC and Comcast, has resurfaced as EVP and chief marketing officer for the America's unit of Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, a major outdoor advertising company. She's not the only ex-Canoe exec on the move. Also this week, former Canoe CTO and chief product officer Arthur Orduña was named chief innovataion officer of market-leading home security company ADT Corp.
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