Hitron Debuts D3 Modem Tailored for Prepaid Internet Market

Hitron Technologies has received the green light to sell a new, miniaturized DOCSIS 3.0 modem at retail after obtaining certification from CableLabs following testing wave 100.

Hitron, so far the only vendor to come out of the wave with a passing grade, got the stamp for a basic data-only model called the CDA CCC.

According to chief sales and marketing officer Todd Babic, Hitron tailored the model to be sold at retail and in support of a budding market for prepaid Internet services. Hitron also envisions that the device’s relatively small form-factor would help keep shipping costs in check if cable operators opt to use the model to facilitate the migration of customers from old DOCSIS 2.0 modems to the more efficient 3.0 platform.

Babic said the CDA CCC is roughly the size of two iPhones stacked on top of each other.
The exact dimensions of the new, retail-focused D3 modem are: 4.3 inches tall, 2.75 inches wide, and 0.98 inches thick.

The CDA CCC is powered by the Intel Puma 5 chip, MaxLinear tuners, and outfitted with a spectrum analyzer. Hitron isn’t disclosing the channel-bonding configuration for the model, but the DOCSIS 3.0 specs require that certified modems bond a minimum of four upstream and four downstream channels.

Although the CDA CCC has various use cases, Babic sees it playing a significant role in the prepaid Internet market, whether used in kits mailed to customers, sold at retail, or packaged for “end caps” – those snappy, eye-catching display units at the end of retail aisles. 

“We really believe in the prepaid market,” Babic said. “MSOs are becoming intrigued by it.”

One operator that already has a keen interest in the prepaid services market is Comcast.

Following an initial prepaid Internet trial in the Philadelphia area, Comcast has expanded it to most markets, and is also testing a prepaid TV service in the Detroit area.  

Comcast’s current prepaid Internet service, offered only to customers without an active Comcast account, is centered on a $69.95 start kit with an Arris-made D3 modem, the necessary cabling, and 30 days of Internet service (3 Mbps downstream by 768 kbps upstream). After that, customers can refill service for seven days for $15 or 30 days for $45 using a credit, debit or Comcast-supplied prepaid card.  

Comcast is currently selling the prepaid Internet service at retail in dozens of stores in parts of Philadelphia, Delaware, New Jersey. Retail partners are to be added “soon” in Detroit, where Comcast is testing both its prepaid TV and Internet products, according to a web site dedicated to the operator’s prepaid products.