CABLE NEXT-GEN -- Denver -- Having deployed DOCSIS 3.1 throughout their footprints, cable operators like Mediacom are delivering gigabit services to bandwidth-hungry consumers. Why these individuals need such high-speed networks is, however, a mystery.
More than 10% (but less than 20%) of new customers sign on for 1Gbit/s, the highest offering in Mediacom's five-tier menu, said JR Walden, chief technology officer and senior vice president during "The Future of DOCSIS" panel at Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies in Denver today. (See Mediacom Delivers 1Gpbs Service Across Iowa and DOCSIS 3.1 Investments Pay 1-Gig Service Dividends.)
"They do like it. They are buying it a very significant rate and we're happy to fill the need," he said of the D3.1 transition, which Mediacom completed about 16 months ago. "It's doing really well... far better than we thought it would do."
But that must-have app? That critical use case driving demand for gigabit speeds? Panelists -- including John Chapman, fellow and chief technology officer for Cable Access Business at Cisco; Chris Cholas, service provider solutions architect at Intel; Rob Flask, head of product line management for Cable Instrument Solutions at VIAVI Solutions and Pete Koat, CTO at VeEX -- could not cite a current consumer use case or application driving mandatory gigabit.
"Is it just a matter of invention? Are we waiting for a 17-year-old in Iceland to come up with the next killer app? They're not doing anything with it today," Walden said. "Are the customers going to feel misled if they buy 1-gig and find out there's nothing more there?"
"The predominant answer to 'why I bought 1 gig?,' " he added. " 'I can afford it and I deserve it.' "
Well, why not? As operators, developers, teens and everybody else tries to create the must-have gigabit app, buying high-speed connectivity may be outside some home budgets but is still a lot less expensive than many other status symbols.
— Alison Diana, Editor, Broadband World News. Follow us on Twitter @BroadbandWN or @alisoncdiana.