BBWN Bites: Low-Latency DOCSIS With Just a Software Upgrade
Also in today's roundup, Italy could soon have one giant broadband provider, Kentucky points the finger at squirrels for project's failure (but dollars, not acorns, seem more at fault), Ohio sends Welcome Wagon to operators, Comcast sings Prime songs to subscribers, plus news from Hungary and the Netherlands.
Using software alone, operators can upgrade existing DOCSIS 3.1 equipment to deliver sub-1-millisecond latencies necessary for gaming, virtual reality and other real-time applications, according to CableLabs. The recently released annex, which it most lately updated in April, was included in a January update to D3.1 for the MAC and upper layer protocols interface. Dubbed LLD, it could power low-latency gaming, which providers view as a contending services enhancement. Cox, for one, is testing a low-latency gaming pricing tier for about $15 a month. (See CableLabs Unleashes Specs for Low-Latency DOCSIS .)
Italy wants its two largest telcos to merge and end the broadband stalemate holding back the country's expansion beyond urban areas, Reuters reported today. Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) is a major shareholder in both TIM and rival Open Fiber (owned by CDP and Enel). Both operators are deploying fiber across Italy, generating concerns about duplication in the nation's most attractive and profitable regions. TIM's biggest foreign shareholders disagree over the provider's broadband strategy -- including any merger talks -- and CDP now wants to take over the discussion, sources told Reuters. CDP is owned by the state (82.8%) and wants to craft a network merger that empowers it to become TIM's biggest shareholder. Currently that position goes to French media group Vivendi, which has been feuding for months with US-based fund Elliott. CDP owns about 10% of TIM's shares.
KentuckyWired, a project designed to deploy fiber optic cable infrastructure across the state and allow government agencies to reduce broadband costs currently paid to providers like AT&T, continues to face time and cost over-runs, as well as an apparently aggressive breed of squirrels that's particularly fond of cable. With these factors in mind, lawmakers recently denied KentuckyWired's request for an additional $110 million to advance the state-wide initiative. (In February, it did not get the $20 million it wanted, either.) Seems the real nut of the problem lies in a bonus tied to completion on a project that's already at least two years late, the Courier Journal Reports. Perhaps bats in the belfry, not squirrels in the cable, are the issue?
In other state broadband news, the Ohio Department of Transportation is considering various means to encourage high-speed broadband expansion across the state. Governor Mike DeWine is mulling over the possibility of letting providers use state highway's rights-of-way, ODOT cell towers, Ohio's fiber-optic network and other assets in exchange for private providers' investment in expanding broadband into rural and inner-city regions, enhance the state's autonomous vehicle capabilities, boost Ohio's economy and generate public money for future projects, according to newsite Cleveland.com.
Comcast launched Amazon Music on Xfinity X1 and Xfinity Flex, making the ad-free and on-demand streaming service available on television via the cable provider. The service will become available over the next few weeks and will be delivered over the Internet; Comcast subscribers will access it on X1, just as they do other live, on-demand or web content, or through the Xfinity Flex service for Internet-only customers. In addition to traditional buttons, users can say "Amazon Music" into the voice remote to access many functions, Comcast said.
A Diet Full of Fiber
Tough to imagine cable is the culprit for this squirrel's pleasantly plump physique.
(Source: Steve Baker/ Flickr) - (CC BY-ND 2.0)
(Home page photo source: Fake Eyes, Colonicle)
Boost your understanding of cable's virtualization efforts, and hear from experts about the business impact of 5G on the cable industry. You're invited to attend Light Reading's Cable Next-Gen Breakfast Series, a free two-day breakfast event at SCTE/ISBE's Cable-Tec Expo on October 1-2 in New Orleans.
At least one government minister in Hungary says it has no evidence Huawei's equipment poses a security threat, Reuters wrote. "Until it is proven that Huawei or Cisco or any other technology poses any threat to our community, that is Hungary, NATO or the European Union, we will handle Huawei's technology as any other technology," said Laszlo Palkovics, innovation and technology minister in the Hungarian government. Germany is Hungary's biggest investor and it's likely the once-Soviet nation will closely heed Germany's decisions, he said.
The Netherlands' KPN is ramping up its fiber rollout in The Hague. By year-end 2021, it predicts at least 80,000 households across a variety of the city's districts will have access to high-speed broadband. To date, the Dutch incumbent has deployed fiber in Benoordenhout and Ypenburg districts and will start work in the Regentessekwartier district in next month.
— Alison Diana, Editor, Broadband World News. Follow us on Twitter or @alisoncdiana.
Here's where you can find episode links for 'The Divide,' Light Reading's podcast series featuring conversations with broadband providers and policymakers working to close the digital divide.
As we have for the past two years, Light Reading will present our Cable Next-Gen Europe conference as a free digital symposium on June 21.
Charter has sparked RDOF work in all 24 states where it won bids. The cable op booked about $19 million in RDOF revenues in Q1, and expects to have about $9 million per month come in over the next ten years.
As we have for the past two years, Light Reading will stage the Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies conference as a free digital event over two half-days in mid-March.
Launch of 2-Gig and 5-Gig FTTP tiers in 70-plus markets puts more pressure on cable ops to enhance their existing DOCSIS 3.1 network or accelerate their upgrade activity centered on the new DOCSIS 4.0 specs.