Although not nearly as quickly as it has in North America, DOCSIS 3.1 is clearly starting to catch on in Europe.
In the latest sign of that trend, Vodafone Germany has begun to deploy DOCSIS 3.1-enabled 1-Gig service throughout its large footprint. As reported by Broadband TV News, Vodafone Germany is rolling out D3.1 initially in Bavaria, starting with the cities of Nuremberg, Landshut, Dingolfing and Fuerth. With a combined 400,000 cable homes, these four markets were the first ones where Vodafone switched off analog TV and radio channels and upgraded its HFC network to DOCSIS 3.1. (See Eurobites: BT Transfers 31K Workers to Openreach.)
Plans call for Vodafone to roll out D3.1 service to about 5 million Bavarian homes, or about three-quarters of its cable households in that region, by the end of the year. Overall, the company plans to extend D3.1 service to more than 6 million German homes by the close of 2018 and nearly 13 million homes, or almost all its current cable households, by the end of 2020 under its ambitious gigabit expansion plans.
Beyond that, assuming that European regulatory authorities approve its planned acquisition of Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY)'s Unitymedia operation, Vodafone aims to offer Gigabit speeds to 25 million German homes covered by the two companies' combined HFC and fiber networks by 2022. That would amount to close to two thirds of all German households.
Liberty Global's Unitymedia, the first German cable provider to introduce DOCSIS 3.1 service, started rolling out 1 Gig speeds over its HFC network last spring. Unitymedia launched D3.1 service in its first market, Bochum, in May and now aims to extend service to a second, larger metro area, Frankfurt, later this month. (See Liberty Global Seeks Broadband Growth Spurt.)
Vodafone and Unitymedia are not alone. Other larger European cablecos -- such as Com Hem AB , Stofa and TDC Group -- are also upgrading their HFC networks and/or deploying DOCSIS 3.1 in their respective service areas. The list also includes smaller operators like Eltrona in Luxembourg. (See DOCSIS 3.1 Ramps Up in Europe and Eltrona Launches DOCSIS 3.1 & DAA With Arris.)
In its DOCSIS 3.1 markets, Vodafone is offering 1 Gig download and 50 Mbit/s upload speeds (eventually going up to 100 Mbit/s) for an introductory price of €19.99 per month ($23.15) for the first year. After that 12-month period ends, the rate will climb to €69.99 ($81) per month. Customers who subscribe before the end of this year can get the current 500 Mbit/s price of €49.99 per month ($57.84) in the second year.
What will the mass rollout of DOCSIS 3.1 and gigabit services mean for European cable providers? How will the new technology spec impact the fixed broadband market? What lessons are providers learning from their service trials and pilots? These are some of the key questions we will tackle when Light Reading stages our inaugural Cable Next-Gen Europe conference in London on November 6 at the Radisson Blu Portman Hotel.
Based on our popular Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies conference in Denver each March, Cable Next-Gen Europe will offer a comprehensive look at cable’s efforts to develop, deploy and monetize new technologies, platforms, products, services, features and applications. Leading European and US cable technologists will examine the industry’s latest tech moves, spell out their strategies, dissect the hurdles they face and discuss how to overcome them.
Home in on the opportunities and challenges facing European cable operators. Join Light Reading for the Cable Next-Gen Europe event in London on Nov. 6. All cable operators and other communications service providers get in free!
Specifically, our team of tech experts will tackle such timely topics as DOCSIS 3.1, Full Duplex DOCSIS, 5G, Distributed Access Architecture, Fiber Deep, FTTH, network virtualization, cloud-based video, cable-mobile convergence and others. Both Cable Europe and SCTE Europe are partnering with us on the event and supplying moderators and/or speakers. (See What's Next for European Cable?)
Nuno Sanches, Vodafone's Group Head of Fixed Development, and Jeff Finkelstein, Executive Director of Advanced Technologies at Cox Communications, head the speaking lineup of top European and US cable, broadband and video technologists. Other confirmed speakers include: Kjeld Balmer, Head of Network Technology at Stofa; Anders Bloom, Senior Systems Manager of Broadband at Com Hem; Ade Brittain, Senior Manager, Access Network Innovation at Liberty Global; Mark Burns, HFC Architect at Liberty Global; Jim Crammond, Senior Director of Operator Business Development at Intel; Tony Gunnarsson, Principal Analyst at Ovum; Jeff Heynen, Director, Sectors & Technology at SNL Kagan Consulting; Pasi Jarvenpaa, Senior Vice President, R&D at Teleste; Frank Miller, CTO, EMEA at Ciena; Krithika Moorti,GM, Cable and Fixed Broadband Access at Intel; Hanno Narjus, Senior Vice President, Network Products at Teleste; and Paulo Valente, Director of Technology Policy, Cable Europe. And more speakers are still on the way.
It promises to be the start of a much-needed dialogue about how European cablecos can cope with the rapidly shifting competitive landscape. So please join us on Tuesday, Nov. 6 for Cable Next-Gen Europe in London. We'll make it worth your while.
Hope to see you all in London.
— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading