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Zoom’s First DOCSIS 3.1 Modem Gets CableLabs Stamp

Zoom Telephonics has notched CableLabs certification for the MB8600, a DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem that will be sold at retail for $159.99 starting in late May.

Zoom, which has worldwide rights to the Motorola brand for products such as cable modems, gateways, WiFi routers and range extenders, achieved the CableLabs milestone following cert wave 120.

The MB8600 isn’t at retail yet, but it has shown up on this Walmart web page (but not yet available for sale) with packaging indicating that Comcast, which has been expanding the rollout of DOCSIS 3.1, has also certified the product to work on its network. Like other DOCSIS 3.1 modems, the Motorola MB8600 is a hybrid that supports both DOCSIS 3.1 and DOCSIS 3.0 signals. The D3.0 side of the product can bond up to 32 downstream channel and up to eight upstream channels.

Zoom said the MB8600 features four Gigabit Ethernet ports, support for bonded Ethernet ports, and Broadcom full-band capture digital tuning.

Zoom’s new Moto-branded model will tangle at retail with D3.1-certified products from Arris and Netgear. Other vendors to obtain the D3.1 certification stamp from  CableLabs include Hitron, Humax, Askey, CastleNet, Sagemcom, Technicolor, and Ubee Interactive.

On its recent Q1 call, Zoom said more than 5,600 stores are now carrying modems with the Motorola brand as of March 31, and that its cable modem share on has grown from less than 1% at the start of 2016, to over 15%. Zoom’s products are carried in stores such as Best Buy, MicroCenter, Target and  Walmart.

About 10% to 15% of the DOCSIS CPE market is for retail products, according to SNL Kagan’s Jeff Heynen.

For Q1, Zoom posted net sales of $5.1 million, up 89.1% from $2.7 million in the year-ago quarter. That was paired with a net loss of $1.1 million, or 7 cents per share, versus a year-ago loss of $700,000, or 5 cents per share. Zoom attributed the wider loss to increases in advertising expenses, R&D, and Motorola trademark royalties, which rose to $755,000 in Q1, according to company CEO Frank Manning.

Though Zoom is largely focused on the retail market, it has recent embarked on a strategy to expand to service provider sales.

On the call, Manning estimated that $7.5 million quarter revenues represents Zoom’s break-even mark.

RELATED: Zoom Hires Barry Hardek to Head Service Provider Sales