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Cable Unwraps ‘Gigasphere’ Microsite

About a year after the cable industry unveiled “Gigasphere” as the consumer-facing brand of the emerging DOCSIS 3.1 platform, it has followed up this week the launch of a microsite dedicated to the initiative.

The Gigasphere moniker was announced in tandem with the 2014 Cable Show in Los Angeles last April by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, in collaboration with the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing, CableLabs and Cable Europe. The Gigasphere logo showed up last fall.

The new microsite -- launched a few weeks before INTX: The Internet & Television Expo  (formerly known as The Cable Show) gets underway in Chicago -- offers high-level details about DOCSIS 3.1, a CableLabs-specified platform that will be capable of capacities of up to 10 Gbps downstream and as much as 2 Gbps upstream, focusing on how it will support new bandwidth-intensive apps and service such as 4K/Ultra HD and the smart home.

“Streaming video, online gaming, telemedicine, and the Internet of Things have transformed how we see the Internet and have challenged how we deliver it,” NCTA explained in this blog post about the Gigasphere site launch. “With Gigasphere technology, the same cable that we now use for broadband can be re-engineered to deliver multi-gig speeds and expansive capacities capable of catapulting us well into the future. Though Gigasphere is still in development, ISPs are already adopting the technology and plan on deploying soon.”

For those who are looking for a more technical readout of D3.1, the microsite’s  “peek under the hood” links over to this CableLabs page, which offers some nuts and bolts about the platform and access to the DOCSIS 3.1 specs themselves.  

But will Gigsasphere be used as a brand name or a product name? According to the FAQ, Gigasphere “is a category name, used to encompass the DOCSIS 3.1 platform itself as well as the many products and services the technical specification will enable. While it may be used in combination with specific products and services sold and marketed by cable companies, it’s not expected to be used as a brand name for any specific cable product line.”

Cox Communications, which will use a mix of fiber-to-the-home and D3.1 to deliver gigabit speeds, is using the “G1GABLAST” brand (opens in new tab) where it’s initially offering 1-gig over fiber. Comcast is using the Gigabit Pro brand for a residential 2-Gbps service that will be offered to millions of homes via fiber, though the MSO also intends to offer residential gigabit speeds on an even broader basis using DOCSIS 3.1. Comcast has begun to test DOCSIS 3.1-based traffic in the field ahead of expected broad scale rollouts next year.