A few months after launching 1-Gig residential broadband service on its DOCSIS 3.1 network, Canadian cable op Shaw Communications has taken another step forward with the debut of a tier that delivers up to 1.5 Gbit/s in the downstream.
Shaw said the new offering, called Fibre+ Gig 1.5, is ideally suited for heavy bandwidth users who are also looking to connect a bunch of devices in the home at the same time. Shaw's new, speedier tier is another indicator that cable operators are seeking to go beyond 1-Gig with DOCSIS 3.1 networks amid the ongoing development of DOCSIS 4.0, a new CableLabs-specified IP platform for hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) networks that will support symmetrical multi-gigabit speeds.
Shaw said the new 1.5-Gig service is available to the "vast majority" of neighborhoods in Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg, along with some smaller cities served by Shaw, including Dawson Creek, B.C., Banff, Alta, and Burnaby, B.C.
Shaw's new 1.5-Gig tier is available for C$165 (US$127.17) per month for customers on Shaw's two-year "ValuePlan." As a point of comparison, Shaw has been offering its Fibre+ Gig tier that comes with unlimited data starting at C$115 per month ($88.63), also with a two-year commitment.
Shaw has been asked what maximum upstream speeds are being paired with its new 1.5-Gig downstream offering.
Shaw is launching the new tier as it continues to tangle with Telus, its primary rival in Western Canada, and as Shaw looks to reverse a recent quarterly loss of broadband subs. In certain locations, Telus currently offers a symmetrical 1-Gig service (actually 940 Mbit/s) starting at C$99 ($76.27), a price that rises to C$160 ($123.27) after two years; and a 1.5 Gbit/s downstream by 940 Mbit/s upstream tier starting at C$165 ($127.12) per month.
Speaking on Shaw's recent fiscal Q4 call, Shaw chairman and CEO Bradley Shaw touted the reach of the cable op's deployment, holding that Shaw's 1-Gig service is available to more than 1 million more customers than Telus.
For customers who opt for its 1-Gig or 1.5-Gig home broadband service, Shaw is also discounting its new, rebranded mobile service and offering a rate of $25 per month for unlimited wireless data plans.
Shaw noted that its 1-Gig and 1.5-Gig plans are supported by its new DOCSIS 3.1 gateway. Shaw's 1-Gig-capable gateways stem from the cable operator's tech and product syndication deal with Comcast.
"We know that there's a growing segment of people – including heavy gamers, content creators and super streamers – who need access to ultrafast Internet services, and that need has only increased during the pandemic as many of our customers manage the reality of having multiple people working from home and sharing bandwidth," Paul Deverell, Shaw's president, consumer, said in the announcement.
Today’s access network architecture is under mounting pressure due to a continued surge in the number of connected devices, a proliferation of bandwidth-intensive customer applications and dramatic shifts in usage patterns related to the pandemic, such as work-from-home and e-learning.
Learn why now is the right time for cable operators to build greenfield networks or expand their existing networks with 10G PON, arming customers with high-speed symmetrical broadband. Gain a clear understanding of the drivers impacting the access network and the various approaches being considered to deliver higher speed services. Plus, find out the best practices that operators are employing as they leverage the latest in passive optical technology to future-proof their networks.
Topics to be covered include:
Node + 0 (Fiber Deep)
DOCSIS 3.1, DOCSIS 4.0 (FDX/ESD)
FTTP and 10G PON
Provisioning 10G PON within a DOCSIS B/OSS environment