Cox All-Digital Wave Reaches More Markets

Following an initial rollout in Connecticut, Cox Communications confirmed that its all-digital transition has stretched into systems serving Rhode Island and Tulsa, Okla.

Next in line are New Orleans and Cleveland as Cox looks to expand the migration to other systems through the end of this year and into 2016, Cox spokesman Todd Smith said.

Cox kicked off the transition in Connecticut late last year, a move that will enable the operator to reclaim spectrum currently being used to deliver about 60 analog TV channels. Cox will use that reclaimed capacity to pump up its digital TV channel offerings, expand its VOD service and free up spectrum for DOCSIS 3.1, an emerging multi-gigabit platform for HFC networks.

More than half of that reclaimed spectrum will be used for DOCSIS 3.1, Kevin Hart, Cox’s EVP and CTO, told Multichannel News in an interview last year.

Cox is deploying fiber-to-the-premises technology in a somewhat targeted fashion during its initial deployment of 1-Gig residential broadband services, though DOCSIS 3.1 is expected to play a keyrole  in a plan that calls for Cox to begin market-wide deployments of gigabit speeds by the end of 2016.  

To assist with all-digital migration, Cox is employing a “Mini Box,” a downstream-only Digital Transport Adapter (DTA) that converts digital signals to analog. Cox’s is using a new class of DTA with an HDMI port that supports high definition TV. Cox’s HD-DTAs will also come with a remote control, an on-screen guide, and parental controls.

Multichannel Newsreported in August  that Cox had selected Evolution Digital and Cisco Systems as its first two DTA suppliers.

Cox has launched a web site (opens in new tab) for its all-digital project. Cox is offering eligible subs one free Mini Box for up to 12 months, and leasing out additional units for $1.99 per month. Cox is also providing a free CableCARD for 12 months instead of  a Mini Box for subs with TiVo boxes and other CableCARD-compatible devices.

Alternatively, Cox customers affected by the all-digital shift can lease interactive set-tops with CableCARDs that support services and apps such as VOD, the operator’s new Contour interface, and premium channels .