Charter’s Rutledge: We can get to 10 Gbps without going all-fiber


Charter Communications is on a “pathway” to deliver symmetrical broadband speeds and will get there without taking fiber all the way to the premises, said the MSO’s chairman and CEO, Tom Rutledge. 

“We’re going to get there by taking electronics out of the HFC, and by taking fiber deeper,” Rutledge said to investors Tuesday during an annual UBS media and telecommunications conference. 

For certain applications, such as enterprise and new construction, Charter might choose to go all-fiber, Rutledge added. “But we think we can get to 10-gig symmetrical, which is a very rich architecture, without a compete network rebuild.”

RELATED: Altice shuns DOCSIS 3.1, sets ambitious 5-year FTTH deployment plan

Rutledge’s comments came a week after Altice USA revealed plans to bypass DOCSIS 3.1 upgrades and phase out its HFC network with a FTTH buildout, all with the aim of delivering 10-gig symmetrical speeds within five years. 

For his part, Rutledge seemed to be referring to Full Duplex, the DOCSIS 3.1 complimentary technology currently under development by CableLabs. Last week, a rep for the industry consortium said it would be about a year before trials begin for Full Duplex, which can—at this point—only theoretically delivery symmetrical 10-gig speeds. 

RELATED: CableLabs: Full Duplex is years away from ubiquity

Rutledge also addressed comments made earlier at UBS by T-Mobile CFO Braxton Carter, who said MVNO re-sale agreements for wireless networks controlled that are being leveraged by Comcast and Charter to enter the wireless business won’t over enough “deep integration.”

RELATED: T-Mobile CFO to cable: ‘You're never going to get deep integration in the network with an MVNO’

The Charter chief executive didn’t quibble with this assertion, noting, “It’s true that it doesn’t give you deep integration, so it has its limitations in developing a future technology set.

Rutledge, however, didn’t describe Charter’s wireless ambition as going head-on with the incumbent providers, but rather complimenting offering for existing and new triple-play customers.

None of this is going to happen real soon, he said. The soonest Charter might debut a wireless product is the second half of 2018.

“We’re going to start down the path of an MVNO, and there’s no need to to do anything right away,” Rutledge explained.