Cable Unveils ‘Gigasphere’ Brand

Los Angeles -- DOCSIS, the acronym long tied to cable’s broadband platform, isn’t going away, but it’s going to be pushed far into the background as far as consumers are concerned, with operators preparing to deploy a next-generation version that promises to pump out multi-gigabit speeds.

“Gigasphere” will become the consumer-facing name to represent DOCSIS 3.1 technology and services, it was announced here Tuesday by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, in collaboration with the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM), CableLabs and Cable Europe.

The brand shift comes ahead of DOCSIS 3.1 trials and rollouts and follows the release of the initial D3.1 product specs by CableLabs last October. Widespread deployments are likely at least two years away, but the platform is being crafted to pave the way for cable's all-IP transition and the targeting of data capacities of up to 10 Gbps downstream and as much as 2 Gbps upstream.

The Gigasphere brand will be used by member companies of NCTA, CableLabs, Cable Europe and other industry-based companies and organizations, to describe the technology, products and services delivered by the technology.  Additionally, it will serve, in part, “as a proxy for the specification around the globe” among consumers and non-technical groups, the NCTA said.

At first blush, the brand appears to be latching onto the "Gig" moniker as Google Fiber expands its 1-Gig network in markets such as Kansas City; Provo, Utah; and, later this year, in Austin, Texas. Cable's coming use of the Gigasphere name also comes into play as AT&T threatens to expand the reach of its 1-Gig-capable, fiber-based platform, U-verse with GigaPower.

Cable marketers and communications executives will develop guidelines for proper usage of Gigasphere, but didn’t announce a specific timeline. Work on additional branding, including a new Gigasphere, logo, will be among the tasks to be tackled immediately after the show, an NCTA official said.

DOCSIS won’t be going completely away. The acronym will remain in use by CableLabs, cable engineers and the technical community, the NCTA noted.

“As we transition to faster and better broadband enabled by this new technology, we must help consumers understand its potential to dramatically enhance our communities, our world, and our lives,” Michael Powell, NCTA’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “Gigasphere stands for incredibly fast access to the Web, the world, and the things that matter most to broadband users.  It breathes life into the breadth, scope, scale, opportunity, and impact of this next-generation technology.”