TIS 2015: Midco Preps for DOCSIS 3.1, Gigabit Speeds

Positioning itself for gigabit speeds, Midcontinent Communications is deploying the cBR-8, a new Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP) from Cisco Systems that’s being made to support DOCSIS 3.1.

DOCSIS 3.1, a platform specified by CableLabs, is designed to support multi-gigabit speeds – up to 10 Gbps downstream and at least 1 Gbps in the upstream.

Cisco introduced the cBR-8 (pictured) in May at the INTX show in Chicago. As a multi-service CCAP, it will house the functions of the cable modem termination system and the edge QAM. Altice Group, which is acquiring Suddenlink Communications, has been testing the cBR-8, which had carried the “Battlestar” code-name.

Midcontinent has more than 300,000 customers and serves parts of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Last June, it doubled speeds for customers, and launched a new 200 Mbps (downstream) tier. The operator has set a goal to make gigabit speeds available to about 600,000 homes and 55,000 businesses by the end of 2017.

Midcontinent will use the CBR-8 for DOCSIS 3.0 initially, but is expected to use it for D3.1-based services as well. The initial wave of D3.1 modems will be hybrids that can utilize both DOCSIS  3.0 and 3.1-based spectrum.

“Cisco’s cBR-8 aligns with our strategy and vision to deliver Gigabit-speed Internet experiences that will change the quality of life and spur business innovation in the communities we serve,” Midcontinent VP of technology Jon Pederson said, in a statement. “With our customers’ bandwidth consumption doubling every 15 months, we need the right technology in place to support our network demands now and in the future. The unique DOCSIS and Remote PHY capabilities of the cBR-8 will help us meet our commitments for the Midcontinent Gigabit Initiative.”

“Advancing its cable access architecture with cBR-8’s advanced multi-Gigabit DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1 technologies and converged video capabilities is a key step in their well-planned network evolution strategy,” added Brett Wingo, VP and GM of Cisco’s Service Provider Infrastructure Group.