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Cable Technology Feature Article

July 05, 2012

Cable Will Gain 25 Percent of Broadband Market Share by 2017 Thanks to Bundling, Higher Bandwidth

By Jacqueline Lee, Contributing Writer

Cable broadband’s higher bandwidth and speeds plus the convenience of bundling telephone, cable and Internet will help cable companies to grab 25 percent of the broadband market by 2017.

ABI Research (News - Alert), which made the forecast, predicted that revenue from cable broadband would reach $50 billion in five years and that cable digitization efforts in developing economies would be a major driver of growth. Additionally, the speed of cable broadband appeals to customers who enjoy video streaming technologies like 3D programming and 4K video resolutions.

“Cable MSOs' marketing focusing on use of advanced services, such as video streaming, and number of devices in the home has encouraged consumers to upgrade to higher bandwidth tiers,” explained Adarsh Krishnan, senior analyst for TV & video at ABI Research.

Cable utilizes DOCSIS 3.0 technology, which offers faster speeds than telco broadband services. Providers are encouraging cable companies to adopt DOCSIS 3.1, which will guarantee faster upload speeds by focusing on upstream channel bonding.

Two products enabling faster streaming include Intel’s (News - Alert) Puma 6 modem, which can achieve 1-Gbps speeds while using 24 channels. Another innovation comes from Arris, which has tied together 12 modems to create a 4.7-Gbps downlink.

Cable’s ability to bundle digital VoIP, broadband and traditional TV programming has attracted large numbers of customers in the developing world, where cable broadband has leapfrogged older protocols to offer customers the best speeds on the market.

One emerging market for cable providers is China, which accounts for 57 percent of Asia-Pacific cable subscribers. The Chinese government has propelled this growth by making major investments in cable digitization to promote interplay between TV broadcasters, Internet operators and telecom carriers.

Cable broadband has multiple advantages over ADSL and wireless Internet. For example, ADSL can experience degraded quality and lower speeds if they are located far from their ISP. However, many cable companies are starting to place restrictions on downloads and uploads, and the speeds quoted by cable companies decrease as more users share available fiber optic bandwidth in a geographic area.

The New York Times recently reported that Time Warner (News - Alert) Cable has begun to roll out tiered pricing in some areas. In South Texas, for instance, customers who sign up for 5 gigabytes of broadband are given a $5 credit on their bill if they don’t use all of the bandwidth and are charged $1 for each additional gigabyte for overages.

“We’re moving away from one-size-fits-all,” says Jon Gary Herrera, a Time Warner spokesman in Texas.

Edited by Juliana Kenny

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