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Cox Picks DTAs From Cisco, Evolution Digital: Sources

Cox Communications has selected Cisco Systems and Evolution Digital as its initial sources for Digital Terminal Adapters that will fuel the MSO’s ambitions all-digital transition, multiple sources said.

Cox has keep its all-digital plans a bit closer to the vest, but two industry sources said the MSO has already selected Cisco Systems and Evolution Digital as its initial DTA suppliers.

Cox and the vendors in question declined to comment about the selection but a Cox official said the MSO expects to start its all-digital transitions in some markets later this year.

In an interview with Multichannel News in April, Kevin Hart, Cox’s executive vice president and chief technology officer, said the operator had selected two HD-DTA suppliers that would support an all-digital transition will help Cox reclaim about 60 analog channels, giving it some room to carve out spectrum for new and expanded services. At the time, he said Cox intended to start trials by the fourth quarter of 2014 and then deploy the initiative more aggressively in 2015 and 2016.

It was not known which DTA models Cox will use in the early going. Some of the newer models are hybrids that use QAM for regular broadcast video and an IP connection that could support an HTML5 browser and deliver online content and apps. The big question is whether hybrid DTAs will require a special waiver from the FCC that would sidestep the existing ban on set-tops with integrated security. The FCC has already granted a blanket waiver that allows MSOs to deploy QAM-only SD and HD DTAs with integrated security.

Regardless of the approach, a selection by Cox, a major U.S. MSO with about 4.3 million subs, is a big win Evolution, a company that has had most of its success with tier 2/3, and helps to maintain Cisco’s long-standing relationship with the operator.

The resulting all-digital effort will give Cox, which has already built out most of its plant to 1 GHz, access to a swath of fresh bandwidth. That could come in handy as Cox pushes ahead on a plan to start a market-wide deployment of 1 Gbps broadband services by the end of 2016.

More about Cox’s all-digital effort and how it compares and contrasts to the one that is underway at Charter Communications will be featured in the August 4 issue of Multichannel News.