Comcast Puts In Orders For Arris ‘Wideband’ Gear

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Comcast, which is looking to aggressively roll out 50-megabit-per-second broadband access this year, has entered into a purchase agreement with Arris Group for the vendor’s C4 Cable Modem Termination System (CMTS).

The size of the order was not disclosed. Comcast has said it intends to roll out DOCSIS 3.0-based service to about 20% of its systems before the end of 2008 and to complete the rollout to all homes passed by mid-2010.

A key feature of CableLabs’ DOCSIS 3.0 specification is channel bonding, which combines multiple 6-MHz channels together to deliver higher Internet connection speeds of up to 160 Mbps (or higher) downstream and 120 Mbps (and higher) upstream.

“Comcast continues to be an integral part of our planning process, and we are excited to receive this initial order from them,” Arris chairman and CEO Bob Stanzione said, in a statement. “The increased speeds and capabilities provided by DOCSIS 3.0 will change the way people use the Internet, providing a network capable of delivering personalized content anytime, anywhere.”

Comcast in April launched 50-Mbps "wideband" service in Minneapolis/St. Paul for consumers and businesses. Within the next two years, the operator expects to offer broadband service with up to 100 Mbps, and 160 Mbps or more in the future.

Arris’ DOCSIS 3.0 C4 CMTS was in the first wave of wideband headend equipment to be certified by CableLabs. Earlier this month, CableLabs approved the Arris Touchstone 702G embedded multimedia terminal adapter (eMTA) for DOCSIS 3.0.

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts used an Arris DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem as part of his “wideband” demonstration at last year’s Cable Show, downloading 32 volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica and Merriam-Webster’s dictionary – 4 Gigabytes of data – in 3 minutes and 52 seconds.

In the first three months of 2008, Comcast's business with Arris was down about $62 million, particularly with respect to voice modems, Stanzione told Wall Street analysts on an April 29 conference call.

However, he added, “we expect much of this business from Comcast to rebound... especially as our DOCSIS 3.0 products are released in their network.”

 For more news from NCTA's The Cable Show '08, click here.

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