Cox California regional manager: DOCSIS 3.1 coming ‘sooner rather than later’

Cox Communications
Image: Mike Mozart

Cox Communications continues to be vague about its deployment plans for DOCSIS 3.1, with the privately held MSO’s California regional manager telling the San Diego Union Tribune that the standard will roll out on Cox’s network “sooner rather than later."

“There are some things that need to happen,” said Sam Attisha, senior VP and California regional manager for Cox. “These are significant capital investments. We are owned by a family, a 117-plus-year-old company. The family is very focused on cutting-edge network investments. I don’t see that changing.”

Comcast remains the only U.S. cable company aggressively deploying DOCSIS 3.1. 

In May, Cox CTO Kevin Hart told Light Reading that Cox plans to conduct its first DOCSIS 3.1 commercial trial in the fourth quarter in one of the company's smaller markets, with deployments set to take place between 2017 to 2020. Likely modem vendors will be Arris and Technicolor, he added.

RELATED: Cox set to take fiber to the node, deploy DOCSIS 3.1

“The technology is there today,” Attisha said. “It is ramping up from what I would call trials to full blown production. The chipsets are there. The vendors are there. There are a lot of folks engaged in making the 3.1 platform a reality. I believe Comcast has rolled it out. It takes time.”

For now, Attisha said, DOCSIS 3.0-enabled 300 Mbps downstream service remains Cox’s standard for high-speed internet.

“The network is 12,000 plus miles, and most of it is fiber,” he said. “There is a significant fiber infrastructure, fiber to the node. Those nodes are deep in residential neighborhoods. From there we go out with coax, which is not DSL. It is not twisted pair. It is a very robust platform. We are doing 300 megabits over it today and we are going to be looking at doing a lot faster speeds in the not too distant future.”

In a wide-ranging Union Tribune interview that also covered Cox’s video plans, Attisha was also coy about the MSO’s white-label deployment of Comcast’s X1 video platform, which Cox is calling “Contour 2.” 

Comcast executives say Contour 2 is now available across Cox’s footprint. Attisha wouldn’t give any data on customer uptake at this point. 

“It installs easy. Customers love the voice-activated remote. They love the user guide,” he said.

As Cox is privately held, there is little insight as to whether the company’s pay-TV base is once again growing, as Comcast’s is with X1. Given that Attisha didn’t tout customer growth to the Union Tribune, it’s safe to assume that Cox is aspirational at this point that Contour will reduce customer churn for Cox in the same way X1 has for Comcast, which has saw video customers grow by 32,000 in the third quarter. 

“There is a lot of competition out there in the video space, and people are consuming video differently,” Attisha told the paper. “We want to make sure we can be part of that new thinking, whether it is Contour at home, fast Internet to allow them to use other applications or a combination of both. That is really what we are seeing -- a combination of both."