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OneGigabit Sprouts 1-Gig Network in Vancouver

Canadian startup OneGigabit has unleashed a plan to deliver speeds of 1 gigabit per second in Vancouver using a mix of fiber networks and rooftop antennas outfitted with high capacity, point-to-point microwave technology.

The firm, which will do battle in the market with Shaw Communications, said it is targeting high-density apartments, condos and small- to medium-sized businesses throughout the Vancouver area. It is pursuing that strategy by partnering with local real estate development firms, outside plant contractors, and “telecommunications industry professionals.”

OneGigabit owner and general manager Eric Kuhnke told the CBC that the company will sell services for between $45 to $65 per month, and offer speeds comparable to what Google Fiber is currently delivering in the Kansas City area for $70 per month. OneGigabit has no plans to saddle its data service with data consumption caps. 

“DSL services over copper phone lines and cable modem service over copper coaxial cables are significantly limited in speed and bandwidth compared to fiber optic access technology,” Kuhnke said, in a statement. “Without significant upgrades in last-mile Internet access technology in the Vancouver area, our city cannot gain the economic benefits of incredibly fast, affordable Internet access.”

Shaw uses fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) to deliver 1 Gbps speeds in parts of Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton under the “Fibre Internet” brand.

Shaw’s top-end DOCSIS 3.0 tier delivers speed bursts of 250 Mbps downstream by 15 Mbps upstream for about $115 per month.

The cable industry, meanwhile, is also moving ahead on projects designed to achieve max speeds of 1 Gbps or more using the existing hybrid fiber/coax plant.

A new line of certified DOCSIS 3.0 gateways from Netgear and Hitron outfitted with the Intel Puma 6 chip are capable of bonding 24 downstream 6MHz-wide channels, enough to pump out close to 1 Gbps. A new chipset from Broadcom is targeting speeds of about 1.2 Gbps through the bonding of 32 downstream channels.   

CableLabs, meanwhile, is developing DOCSIS 3.1, a next-gen platform that’s targeting capacities of 10 Gbps down by 2 Gbps. The Louisville, Colo.-based cable R&D consortium plans to complete the DOCSIS 3.1 specs later this year. It's estimated that DOCSIS 3.1 trials could start as early as 2014.