DOCSIS 3.0 To Reach 77% Of U.S. Homes This Year: NCTA

The cable industry is on track to roll out DOCSIS 3.0 technology, which lets operators deliver more than 100 Megabits per second downstream, to 77% of U.S. households by the end of 2011 -- including many rural areas, according to the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.

That's up from approximately 60% at the end of 2010, the NCTA said in an ex parte filing Monday with the FCC.

The cable lobbying group was responding to a request from FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell about additional information on the industry's rollout of DOCSIS 3.0. The previous meeting with McDowell was regarding the agency's initiative to reform the Universal Service Fund program to fund the deployment of broadband to underserved and unserved areas.

The NCTA and the American Cable Association have opposed the USF-reform plan put forward by large U.S. telcos, arguing that giving incumbent carriers a right of first refusal on subsidies is not "competitively neutral."

NCTA noted that DOCSIS 3.0 "has not only been rolled out in urban areas, but in rural and smaller markets as well."

As examples, it cited operators including Suddenlink Communications, which offers DOCSIS 3.0 service to 76% of the 2.74 million homes it passes in Texas, West Virginia, Louisiana, Arkansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Arizona; and Midcontinent Communications, which has deployed DOCSIS 3.0 to 99% of the 484,029 homes its network passes in the Dakotas and Minnesota.

Other cable operators NCTA pointed to included Mediacom Communications, offering DOSCIS 3.0 services to 85% of its 910,638 homes passed in Iowa; BendBroadband in Oregon, which offers DOCSIS 3.0 service to all 63,000 homes it passes; and Massillon Cable TV in Northeastern Ohio, which also offers DOCSIS 3.0 services to 100% of the 67,725 homes it passes.

Light Reading Cable reported on the NCTA filing Wednesday.