Mediacom CTO Walden: 'We're done' with DOCSIS 3.1 deployment

Both Mediacom and Midco have relied on Cisco's CBR8 CMTS for their respective DOCSIS 3.1 deployments.

DENVER—Mediacom has completed its stated mission of deploying DOCSIS 3.1 network services across its 22-state footprint, the company’s Chief Technology Officer JR Walden said today.

“We did the last one Friday,” Walden said, speaking on a SCTE Cable-Tec Expo breakfast panel produced by Broadband Technology Report. The event included technology executives from Midco, CableLabs and the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers. “We wanted to put a stake in the ground as fast as we could.

"We began launching markets in 2017," he continued. "We staggered the launches to get our names in the paper a little more. It worked. But for all intent and purposes, we’re done."

Walden said Mediacom began the transition from DOCSIS 3.0 to CableLabs’ new 3.1 standard in late 2015, meeting with a handful of vendors who didn’t have any finished 3.1 products but did have enough line cards and written code “for us to make informed decisions” about the product purchasing that followed in 2016. 

CMTS products were available early—Walden’s team chose products from Cisco and Casa, replacing around 200 CMTS devices in about 40 locations. 

Modems were trickier. 

“CableLabs kept telling us that the CMTSs would come first and the modems second,” Walden said. “I don’t know why I didn’t believe them. We really anticipated the modems coming a little faster.”

He said that there were enough standalone DOCSIS 3.1 modems in 2016 for Mediacom to conduct field tests. Ultimately, he added, the New York-based mid-sized cable operator chose 3.1 modems from Ubee Interactive, Technicolor and Askey. 

Currently, around 10% of new Mediacom broadband customers are taking DOCSIS 3.1-powered 1-gig services, Walden said, adding that the cable company has deployed around 12,000 DOCSIS 3.1 gateways. 

Meanwhile, Midco CTO Jon Peterson said that 75% of the company’s subscribers have access to 3.1-powered 1-gig services. “I think we can get to 99% over time,” he said. “We have some really small systems, and [upgrading them] might be tough to justify.”

As for DOCSIS 3.1 vendors, Midco chose Cisco’s CBR8 for CMTS, and Arris and Hitron for modems.