Cox Clarifies Its 'Non-Fiber' Network Language

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What happens in Vegas sometimes doesn’t stay in Vegas.

Earlier this week, Cox’s Las Vegas system officially joined the DOCSIS 3.0 club, cutting the ribbon on a 50-Mbps service (see Cox Las Vegas Deals Out 50-Mbps Internet).

That’s the fastest broadband in Sin City or anywhere else in the Silver State — and notably, the launch was timed about a month before CES 2010 comes to town, along with FCC chairman Julius Genachowksi, who very much has broadband on his mind (see FCC’s Genachowski Booked For CES 2010).

But one of the curious things about Cox’s Las Vegas press release was that it emphasized the super-fast broadband used a “non-fiber delivery system” (a detail also noted by BroadbandReports’ Karl Bode).

Qué? Cox, of course, uses an HFC (hybrid fiber-coax) network, like other MSOs, which does in fact contain a lot of fiber. The cable company says more than 90% of the connection from a subscriber’s home to the headend is via fiber. The semantics are important — the issue is central to a fight between cable operators and Verizon over the marketing use of the “fiber” term (see Fiber War of Words and Better Business Bureau Refers Comcast ‘Fiber-Optic’ Claim To FTC).

Cox spokesman David Deliman followed up last night with a statement “which more accurately depicts the train of thought behind that language”:

“Unfortunately, one of our statements wasn’t very clear about the architecture of our network, which is fiber based. We used the term ‘non-fiber’ to describe only the last-mile connectivity of an advanced network that allows Cox customers to experience some of the fastest broadband speeds in the marketplace. To be clear, Cox’s Las Vegas system, like all of our cable systems, is built around an extensive network of fiber, and more than 90 percent of the path between the customer and the Cox headend is fiber. Via DOCSIS 3.0 technology and our network investments, we are delivering among the fastest speeds in Las Vegas and the nation. We’re very proud of our fiber networks across the country.”

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