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Cable Industry Needs to Spend Heavily on Upgrades 126

Posted by Zonk
from the think-of-the-children dept.
BlueCup writes "A report from the cable industry's research arm suggests that Cable-television operators require another round of multibillion-dollar network upgrades to keep up with rivals in the fast-growing high-speed Internet hookup business. The conclusions underscore the challenges posed by the rapid growth of broadband video from YouTube and Google, and the looming threat of a planned $20 billion rollout of high-capacity fiber lines by U.S. phone giant Verizon Communications Inc."
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Cable Industry Needs to Spend Heavily on Upgrades

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  • by lkypnk (978898) on Friday August 18, 2006 @11:49PM (#15938772)
    My ISP, Rogers Communications has all sorts of bandwidth shaping and usage restrictions in place. This is, from what I've read, apparently so they can have the bandwidth available for their VoIP and on-demand streaming TV services.

    They need to get their act together or they'll start to lose customers. They have a 60 GB/month usage limit. What good is a 8 Mbit/s line when you can hit your bandwidth cap in a single day?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nxtw (866177)

      My ISP, Rogers Communications has all sorts of bandwidth shaping and usage restrictions in place. This is, from what I've read, apparently so they can have the bandwidth available for their VoIP and on-demand streaming TV services.

      That's a lie. From what I understand a docsis channel can trasnmit 27 mbit/sec., which is plenty of voice calls. With an average of 100-500 customers on each HFC node, they'd be hard pressed to fill up just one channel worth of voice calls -- basically, if every single customer

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Actually, it isn't a lie. Please stick to topics you know about.

        I worked for Time Warner for a number of years, ending a little over a year ago when I went into my own venture. TW was getting the technical details of rolling out their voice offerings to this area (Chicago/Milwaukee) and put some fairly horrible limits on home res services (how about advert'ing a 5mbit line on commercials/mail/etc.. then setting the QOS at 2mbit max..) It's pathetic.. It's a loophole that they say "up to -whatever number
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by aevan (903814)
          I could be wrong, but I THINK the 'lie' referenced here is needing that bandwith for the VOIP, not the fact of the traffic is being shaped. The necessity of that shaping is the questionable part ("the lie").
        • by nxtw (866177)
          Please read the entire post before replying in a condescending manner. I was referring to the pathetic excuse of VoIP/on demand services using too much bandwidth. While I didn't make that immediately clear in my post, reading past the first sentence would have made that easy to understand.
        • by nxtw (866177)
          as for the TWC network I am on, you only get less than the rated speed if they were having temporary issues or you happened to live on a very crowded node during peak times. Otherwise, you can regularly use all 5mbit/384k. On Business Class's 7/1 (mbit) plan, we have no trouble using all of that bandwidth.

          Latency is pretty horrible, and is usually at least 45 ms. The network is often subject to jitter and occasionally packets arriving out of order, which causes problems for voice.

          DSL otoh has ping times
          • Latency is pretty horrible, and is usually at least 45 ms. The network is often subject to jitter and occasionally packets arriving out of order, which causes problems for voice

            Packets ariving out of order is jitter... Unless perhaps jitter means something else in the wired world.

            • Packets ariving out of order is jitter... Unless perhaps jitter means something else in the wired world.

              Packets arriving out of order is only a possible side effect of jitter. Jitter means that packets are arriving at varying intervals, rather than in a predictable manner. You can have one packet every 10 ms, then one in 40ms, then 20 in 30 ms, then 1 ever ms and *that* is jitter. Its usually caused by weird pathing, where different packets take different routes, so when jitter gets bad enough, you of
      • That's a lie. From what I understand a docsis channel can trasnmit 27 mbit/sec., which is plenty of voice calls. With an average of 100-500 customers on each HFC node, they'd be hard pressed to fill up just one channel worth of voice calls -- basically, if every single customer on that node had the voice service and a few hundred used the phone at the same time, they might have a problem.

        This is true, but you're making one fatal assumption: That they're putting 100-500 customers on a node. It isn't a cake w
        • by nxtw (866177)
          TWC seems to manage here with their digital phone, lots of on-demand programming, 10+ HD channels, 45 music channels, 20 international channels, 75 analog channels also simulcast in digital, home and business class data services, 50 digital cable channels, 40 movie channels, and so on.

          Enabling 256QAM isn't just flipping a switch, either. A lot of things have to fall into place and there are often problems with SNR, etc, and if they don't, the upgrades are extremely expensive and time consuming, not to menti

      • wonder how popular on-demand really is - I can't ever say that I've watched a show on-demand; just a few music videos. I'd think the use of the on-demand channels is mostly limited to a) those that have digital cable but not the DVR, b) those that actually want to watch the limited content available, and c) those who aren't frustrated by the confusing interface.

        Our Comcast on-demand service has totally changed the way my daughter and I watch on television. Aside from things like live sporting events or

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "They need to get their act together or they'll start to lose customers."

      1-Are they losing customers now?

      2-Do you see any hints of them losing customers in the immediete future?

      3-Is anyone in Canada competing with them equally (this leaves out dial-up)?

      If none of the above are the case then why throw out "a guess"?

      "They have a 60 GB/month usage limit. What good is a 8 Mbit/s line when you can hit your bandwidth cap in a single day?"

      And exactly how many of Roger's customers are hitting their cap? Why does th
      • by Aidski (875851)
        My 4 roommates and I have that exact program. There's only so much one can download in a month. We've never hit that limit, even when we try to.
        • by Jardine (398197)
          My 4 roommates and I have that exact program. There's only so much one can download in a month. We've never hit that limit, even when we try to.

          You're not trying hard enough.
    • by ZakuSage (874456)
      Not here in Atlantic Canada. I live in Halifax, and the major cable company (Eastlink) provides one of the fastest and most stable cable internet services in North America. My connection is 10 Mbit/s, no bandwidth cap.
    • Same with cogeco cable and it's 60gb cap~
    • by Doytch (950946)
      Check out 3Web [get3web.com].

      I have their high speed DSL plan (West Toronto)and it's pretty damn nice. No bandwidth cap/shaping, and no Bell shoulder surfing. The one caveat is that their technical support line has probably five people on it so it takes a long time to get through. But if you're on /., you can probably figure out most issues by yourself. I haven't had problems with them since they upgraded their systems a couple of years ago.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by elzurawka (671029)
      If you have a 60 gig cap, then your speed should only be 5Mbit. For an extra 4 dollars for modem rental, you can get a 6Mbit line, and a 100 Gig cap. Still not too good, but i think its worth 4 dollars.

      I have also heard from a friend on the inside that they will start to charge you for every gig you go over your limit starting in the next few months. You wont get cut off, or slowed down, you will just notice a big increase in your bill the following month. Im not 100% sure about this, but my friend who work
    • by Kenshin (43036)
      Cogeco recently upped our connection to 7Mb... but left the cap at 15GB.

      What kind of nonsense is that?
      • by lazybeam (162300)
        Try living in Australia:

        http://bc.whirlpool.net.au/isp.cfm/Telstra-BigPond /1.html [whirlpool.net.au]

        8 or 17Mbit with a 200MB cap, then excess charges at 15c/MB - this is the one they market at Mums and Dads who have no idea - then wonder why they have thousands of dollars of excess charges! Telstra also charge uploads+downloads, not just downloads. Get infected with a trojan or unknowningly leave a P2P running, have to sell the house... (yes, there have been cases like this)

        That cable is also very limited in area it covers,
    • Rogers Home Phone, if run through the Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial (HFC) network, is a separately provisioned VLAN from TV and Internet. They have their own dedicated bandwidth. If any one of those services goes down, the others are not affected. Typically, only physical damage to the network would cause an outage for all three. I would also note, however, that Rogers Home Phone also is a rebranding of the Call-Net / Sprint Canada local service in areas that support it. There's also a legacy VoIP-over-Inter
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Friday August 18, 2006 @11:53PM (#15938789)
    "A report from the cable industry's research arm suggests that Cable-television operators require another round of multibillion-dollar network upgrades to keep up with rivals in the fast-growing high-speed Internet hookup business.

    Do you hear that?

    It's the sound of tens of thousands of dollars in new bribes starting the march to Congress to make sure that our taxes pay for these upgrades while the cablecos continue to act as if they own the infrastructure.

    Why just tens of thousands? Congress is notoriously cheap [opensecrets.org] the best government money can buy at the best prices too!
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Tablizer (95088)
      Do you hear that? It's the sound of tens of thousands of dollars in new bribes starting the march to Congress....while the cablecos continue to act as if they own the infrastructure.

      Don't worry, it is somewhat kept in check by deep-pocket Telco's who want to keep the Cablers down to get a peice of the media pie. Think of it like Hitler and Mousolini being on different sides.......on second thought, don't.
             
      • by rolfwind (528248)
        Perhaps you mean Hitler and Stalin? Mussolini certainly would not have been a match for either. Unless that is your point with Telcos vs Cable?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by GreggBz (777373)
      Cable companies subsides are a fairly new thing, and far fewer than phone company subsidies. Most Cable Companies worked pretty hard to build their own plant, and indead own their infrastructure. The government had more prerogative to ensure the development phone and power companies, not MTV and HBO companies.
      Perhaps you are thinking of Verizon, MCI and Bell South.

      And remember, it's now the Cable Companies that compete with the phone companies as their networks and products begin to overlap.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    join 'em.

    Come on cable companies...ditch the coax and go fiber. Make the infrastructure interoperable.

    Is there really any reason for them to stick with coax? Other than grandfathering themselves in...
    • by LRBenson (984351)
      Coax will not go away for some time if ever; as far as I know there is only one company currently offering Fiber to the home. Many ISP's are stating they have a fiber network but this is only a half truth; they have a mostly fiber infrastrucutre and may even have fiber on the poles or under ground with the rest of the telecom companies however from there they are almost all coax from the pole\ground ped to the home.
  • by martinbogo (468553) on Friday August 18, 2006 @11:58PM (#15938814) Homepage Journal
    Remember when cablemodems were first rolled out? About one megabit speed, when everyone else was on 56k dialup, and we sat and watched and waited for the cable companies to roll out. ISDN was king, and DSL was something hard to get.

    Now? Cablemodem access is pretty much everywhere, and download speeds are pretty decent in general. DSL and Cable both have offerings in the 4-6mbit range, and now there is something else to look forward to...

    Fiber. Downtown San Francisco has some of that Verizon fiber available in limited areas, and the access download speeds get into the 60-100mbit range. Let me say that again, since I'm sure a lot of people are going to say "he said WHAT?"

    100 megabits. downlink. speed.

    Yes, there are still some non-sensical "can't host a server" issues. Yes, uplink speeds are artificially asymmetrical (~60mb down, about 1mbit up. Still an improvement over cablemodem service speeds.) It's part of an experimental rollout, and hard to get installed. So was DSL, once.

    HDTV, phone, internet access, 'digital radio', and more on a single line, all for around $100/month, at least for now.

    Cable companies have something to worry about. Definately.

    • Lucky you. In Central Florida (and from what I've heard most of Florida and most of Georgia), cable modem is 5MB/sec down, .5 up for the cheap rate.

      Nobody gets even close to that on DSL. In my area, we can get .5MB down, .1 up and the phone company told us that was remarkably good (of course they advertize it as capable of doing more).

      Cable really doesn't have much to worry about. It's a lot easier to upgrade and repair cable networks than it is to upgrade and repair fiber, and cable lines can actually handle 100MB from the number of houses they're doing now without much problem.

      The issue is that they've got all those pesky analog cable TV channels on there wasting space.

      They're slowly phasing out all of the old, nondigital cable boxes and moving everyone over to digital. Once that's done, they'll be far ahead of fiber in terms of getting that last mile in place, and they'll be able to match the speeds fiber is currently offering.

      It might cost more, but if I was a betting man, I'd bet more on cable being reliable and maintained over fiber. cable isn't a prototype. We know it works, and we know the network can handle it. Only the switches and the policies need to be changed. Despite the cost of that, I'm pretty sure its still cheaper than all that has to be done to make fiber a reality.
      • I'm in gainesville, we have cox @ 9Mb down, but only 1Mb up. I don't even know what DSL speeds here are.
      • by Ex-MislTech (557759) on Saturday August 19, 2006 @01:59AM (#15939153)
        What you may not know is the cable modems are aerial fiber hanging below the power lines,
        and run to a neighborhood hybrid fiber coax router that breaks it out to coax for 500
        to 1,000 users typically.

        The cable companies already deployed a lot of fiber just for digital cable.

      • Where I live, both Cable and DSL run on the same line to the outside world. So it really doesn't matter what you get, you're still bottlenecked by that one line.
      • Pleeze. (Score:4, Informative)

        by SeaFox (739806) on Saturday August 19, 2006 @03:46AM (#15939418)
        Nobody gets even close to that on DSL. In my area, we can get .5MB down, .1 up and the phone company told us that was remarkably good (of course they advertize it as capable of doing more).

        Of course the phone company told you it was good. They're the freak'n provider. What were you expecting "Oh, Mr. Johnson, that's really slow. We're providing some really crappy service aren't we?" they don't want to be held to any kind of standard for service, so they aren't going to agree with any notion there's a problem if you'll go with their answers.

        Cable really doesn't have much to worry about....

        The issue is that they've got all those pesky analog cable TV channels on there wasting space.

        They're slowly phasing out all of the old, nondigital cable boxes and moving everyone over to digital. Once that's done, they'll be far ahead of fiber in terms of getting that last mile in place, and they'll be able to match the speeds fiber is currently offering.

        And they'll be able to start charging everyone per TV for their services. Which is why they really want to get rid of analog cable. They're like Ma Bell in the 50's wanting to charge you per phone in your house regardless of how many actual phone lines you have. The only reason that was undone was the availablity of wiring for do-it-yourself extensions and the analog nature of the PSTN making it hard to track how many phones a person had.

        Plus, the external converter has the added bonus of making it hard to do automated VCR recordings of shows while you're away from home (hello, DVR rental fee!).

        Why does nobody recognise digital cable for what it is; an excuse to roll back fair use and home recording rights, and find another way to nickel and dime the consumer?

        Until there's legislation passed removing the encryption from cable (so makers of stand alone DVR's and VCR's can integrate digital tuners in their products) or requiring cablecos to provide as many boxes as a customer needs free of charge this will continue.

        • by sponga (739683)
          Not really I live in Southern California and our basic digital cable box has the option to record to vcr on the fly for every channel. Tested it for majority of on-demand, PPV and every other channel and it works right away.

          With digital cable there is way more abundance of content available. On-demand has so much stuff on it is impossible to watch it all; so I don't think the average consumer is being hurt as much as you guys wish to think.

          The money is in the triple play packages and customer support. You c
          • by SeaFox (739806)
            Not really I live in Southern California and our basic digital cable box has the option to record to vcr on the fly for every channel. Tested it for majority of on-demand, PPV and every other channel and it works right away.

            Ah, but what if you went away for awhile? Would you be able to record shows off three differnt digital channels (at differnt times of course) while you were gone?
            • by sponga (739683)
              VCR is dead anyways and they stopped really selling them on the shelves by the masses so the whole vcr argument is really minute. My other box has a DVR on it and it has complete scheduling of recordings. Just press list on the changer and it list all the stuff I programmed to record in the future and much other stuff which I can all catagorize it in many ways.

              There is live tv guide so you can select everything in the future. It works, provides plenty of content and is cheaper than before with triple play.

              h [timewarnercable.com]
              • by SeaFox (739806)
                VCR is dead anyways and they stopped really selling them on the shelves by the masses so the whole vcr argument is really minute.


                Okay, and when did they stop selling DVD-recorders? And non-cableco PVR's?
                This arguement applies to them as well.
                • by TCaM (308943)
                  My local cable company charges 1.99 a month for a cablecard. IF tivo or any other company would actually cupport cablecard they could easily enable access to record digital content without having to go througn hoops, such as ir controllers and serial cables to control cable/sat boxes.

                  • IF tivo or any other company would actually cupport cablecard they could easily enable access to record digital content without having to go througn hoops, such as ir controllers and serial cables to control cable/sat boxes.

                    IR controllers hooked up with serial are unecessary for many provider's digital converters. The S-video port on the converter can be used by the TiVo to control the reciever. But I expect this port to disappear with the HDMI push and some cableco's already disable it.

                    It's funny how when
      • by Derosian (943622)
        Fiber is insanely faster, so much faster that questioning whether the network can handle it isn't a matter of the cables, it is your computer and the computer on the other end that is slowing you down.
      • We are probably going to see ISP's start to deploy fixed point Wimax if the telco's start kicking competitors off their networks and driving up prices. So in other words broadband speed is going to increase like crazy and so will the competition.
    • by mrcolj (870373)
      I've been on full fiber for about a year now, on the nation's largest and fastest all fiber network in Orem, Utah. The basic plan, what any home would get, including me, has 15 Mbps down (and 15 Mbps up!), but the business plans get 100 Mbps up and down! And I pay $38/mo. I'm from San Francisco (Novato), but this is one more advantage to leaving California...
      • by Yehooti (816574)
        It angers me to see what some of you folks are getting and comparing it to what I can get. I'm in the Los Angeles area and have aDSL going through AT&T copper. I get about 30 KBps down and half that up. There are two big orange fiber cables terminated about a block from my house and they've been there undisturbed since they were pulled almost two years ago. RCN, I think, owns them but they don't want me to have fixed IP's and won't quote me a price to connect to me without phone, TV, and I don't wan
    • by radish (98371)
      Nothing wrong with healthy competition, and I don't think cable has anything to worry about. Verizon is offering FIOS to a few people in/around NYC, and I hear it's pretty fast (for now). You need new equipment installed both in and outside your residence, which AFAIK rules out most people living in apartments. On the other hand, I just upgraded my cable from 15mbps to 30mbps simply by filling in a form on a webpage and waiting 10 minutes. I have no complaints at all about my cable service and wouldn't touc
  • After this: (http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/08/18/ 1 333217), let's see how things work out.
    The telecoms may be looking at a bleak future ($$$) after some lawsuits, and who knows what legislation (if any- but I expect telecom's lobbyists to go into overtime over this one)
    may transpire.

    If nothing else, it will be VERY interesting in the forseeable near-future. Hopefully we won't have to lube up and bend over 'cause of these two things.

    *dons tinfoil hat and backs into corner with "trapped rat mental
  • by dontbflat (994444) on Friday August 18, 2006 @11:59PM (#15938820) Homepage
    like fiber. Verizon is doing fiber. Why cant the cable companies. They already send the data through a fiber cable to the main cable box for the block, whats an extra few hundred feet. (I know this because in Henderson, NV Cox has done this to the neighboorhoods). It may not be done for every city, but there is no reason it cant be. To answer a post above, Satelite is not the answer. Its costly, bandwidth limiting, and has a long delay. I would never get satelite internet and if cable went that route, they would have less internet customers. Imagine playing CS at 500ms pings. ew...dialup all over again.... Fiber is the way to go. Just run some DWDM fiber [fiber-optics.info] and life will be good.
    • years ago a website I ran got hacked so of course I couldn't trust any files on the server and reloaded the site by FTP via sattelite; what a nightmare. FTP uploading lots of smallish php file with a chatty protocol like FTP and 500 mS ping times made the process insufferable; far better to use dialup for that than sattelite!
      • by finiteSet (834891)
        FTP uploading lots of smallish php file with a chatty protocol like FTP and 500 mS ping times made the process insufferable;
        Why not upload one big tar/zip file?
        • Why not upload one big tar/zip file?

          That assumes that he has shell access on the server. Which isn't all that common at the low-end of web hosting.

          I probably would've run an FTP client with multiple threads (say 4 or 8) to better maximize the throughput. That way while some threads are waiting for responses, you've still got data transfering. Unfortunately, that requires that your provider allows for multiple connections to the FTP server (somewhat uncommon).

    • by pipingguy (566974) *
      I don't really understand the faster is better argument. If Slashdot loads in 0.5 seconds (plus lag time for tacoda.net and other 3rd party ad companies) that's good enough for me.

      Is everyone else downloading 1GB files that they need Right Now Dammit?
      • Is everyone else downloading 1GB files that they need Right Now Dammit?

        Yes, aren't you?

        Try telecommuting when a particular job involves media files. Fortunately it's rare, but it's getting more and more common at our company where job folders are starting to climb into the double and triple digit megabyte range.

        (I'm starting to wonder if a 6TB SAN is going to be big enough...)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Nutria (679911)
      They already send the data through a fiber cable to the main cable box for the block, whats an extra few hundred feet

      Because there are 20-200 houses for every neighborhood fiber-cable router. It would cost a lot of money to run fiber to every house, which would probably include replacing all the boxes on the side of everyone's houses.

    • You can get GIGE on copper. No company has the headend capacity to run even GIGE for all their customers. The only use for all this fantastic curb bandwidth is stuff the headend caches. Which, I suppose, could be Akamai like nodes and other big proxy caches and what not, so the bandwidth isn't utterly a waste.

      C//
  • Anyone but the Bells or Comcast.... please!!
  • What has happened to the thousands of miles of "dark fiber" that some claim is going to waste?

    -r

  • by pair-a-noyd (594371) on Saturday August 19, 2006 @12:03AM (#15938829)
    What pisses me off is I'm paying $45 a month for Road Runner PLUS a $10 a month penalty for not subscribing to cable TV. So after adding taxes, my RR bill is $57 a month. That's BS..
    And they keep flooding my snailmail box with flyers trying to get me to sign up for digital TV, voip and RR for the low, low price of $120 a month + taxes, so figure $130 a month. No thanks. Don't want it or need it.
    I just want internet only. I have a cell phone and TV sucks.

    As for RR here, the speed is decent, it's stable and dependable and they've never jacked me around like SBC did on DSL. I'll do without before I ever do business with SBC so I'm stuck with RR..

    I wouldn't mind paying what I pay if they would up the speed. I hear some places in the US are getting 3x to 4x the speed I get for half the price. WTF??? Bump up our speed or cut our bills you cheap bastards!

    • by Traiklin (901982)
      you're getting it cheap.

      for me to get a whopping 3mb down and (I think) 1.5mb up it costs $60 a month WITH digital cable.
      We have the big package where we have a regular digital reciver, a broadband box (a DVR) Basic Cable, Extended cable, HBO, Cinemax, Stars & Encore no phone (cause really when the power goes out so does your phone, plus everyone who does have it we have talked to said the serivice is HORRIBLE, it's out more then it's working) and we pay something like $140 a month for it. they cha
    • With comcast its actually cheeper to get the economy package TV and internet than internet alone; appearently the filter to limit the basic cable down to economy blew-out and we're now getting everything exect the pay channels anyways.
    • Heh...your price sounds quite nice. My connection costs $110+tax a month for 5MB/768KBs. Half of the price however is to allow me the privelage of useing ports that should have never been blocked in the first place.
    • I miss Comcast since switching to RCN in the Boston area. :( My wife loves the cubbies on WGN and I love my wife, so we switched to RCN.

      Regrettably, Comcast's 6dn/0.75up for $60 turned out to be a better deal for nerds and non-windows users (aka anyone not afraid of hosting their own ssh/web/etc).

      With RCN we have 10dn/0.75up for $50, but RCN charges us a $20 penalty to unblock incoming port 80. If you do end up paying their ransom money, you can't have multiple ip's on RCN with port 80 access. Back on Comca
  • Net neutrality? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by whoever57 (658626) on Saturday August 19, 2006 @12:07AM (#15938845) Journal
    Translation of the original article:

    "Industry controlled 'research' group claims big bills to be paid for infrastucture that video-streaming websites will push out. WEe need to be able to charge Google and other to 'prioritise' their traffic or we won't have enough money. Net Neutrality is therefore a bad thing"
  • by The Vulture (248871) on Saturday August 19, 2006 @12:11AM (#15938859) Homepage
    The cable operators, for the longest time, have been stagnant, as they never had any competition. They have the local monopoly, and the phone companies could never offer traditional cable television. When DOCSIS cable modems came out, it was a new form of competition - something that was standards based.

    Now, the main threat to cable operators is alternative forms of television - satellite and IPTV. The satellite operators don't have to pay the cable operators to broadcast their signals, and the phone companies are also monopolies that are rapidly expanding - FIOS, VDSL - techologies that can deliver more video bandwidth than cable, and still have room left over for lots of data.

    In an attempt to try to beat the phone companies to the triple play (television, data, phone), the cable companies sank a lot of money into proprietary digital television systems (Motorola and Scientific Atlanta). The telephone companies have been researching alternate systems, and I figure that they'll be able to beat the cable companies based on cost alone.

    Right now, the cable companies are trying to convert to digital cable as quickly as they can - for every analog channel that they move off to digital, they can put in between 5-10 analog channels. This space can then be redeployed for cable modems/EMTAs (for data and phone usage). But, there's a downside to this - every new digital subscriber costs the cable company hundreds of dollars in the form of an expensive PVR (a proprietary PVR that cannot be swapped out because of the proprietary encryption). So, they're screwed either way.

    -- Joe
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      In an attempt to try to beat the phone companies to the triple play (television, data, phone), the cable companies sank a lot of money into proprietary digital television systems (Motorola and Scientific Atlanta). The telephone companies have been researching alternate systems, and I figure that they'll be able to beat the cable companies based on cost alone.

      You know what scares the crap out of the cable companies? As they race to score a triple play, they are finding that once fast data is there, the o

    • Now, the main threat to cable operators is alternative forms of television - satellite and IPTV. The satellite operators don't have to pay the cable operators to broadcast their signals, and the phone companies are also monopolies that are rapidly expanding - FIOS, VDSL - techologies that can deliver more video bandwidth than cable, and still have room left over for lots of data.

      FYI most telecoms in the midwest are deploying ADSL2 (ITU G.992.5 Annex M) which yeilds ~24Mbit down 1Mbit up. This is actually t

    • by TCaM (308943)
      the reality is about 6 digital channels in standard definitionfor one analog, the 5-10 number is more like what the sat companies with their limited bandwidth have. As far as needing expensive PVR units you are mistaken, PVR/DVR is an option with sat, cable or and other furute tv provider, one that the cunsumer will pay for ala carte. Also consider that any modern CATV provider already has fiber to their sub areas and in newer areas have lots of unfilled conduits that can hold fiber with little effort. C
  • Why is it... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by abscissa (136568) on Saturday August 19, 2006 @12:26AM (#15938909)
    Why is it, that cable companies couldn't just roll out fibre cables to the home? Apologies that I am so naieve. I know it would be a huge investment, but wouldn't it basically cover ever future technology etc. in one? Is the cost that prohibitive? Whatever technology they can dream up within the next 20 years (and beyond) they can transmit over fiber. I mean how long have we had coax?
    • The worst part is that there's a ton of fiber out there that *could* be used, but isn't. I live on the south side of Chicago, mere blocks from the Dan Ryan Expressway, and there's a shload of dark fiber running underneath it. Comcast or AT&T could be jumping on the chance, given that the Ryan's all torn up for the rennovation project right now, but they're not. Stupid, isn't it?
  • come on.. just buy into level3 or other that have already done the pure fiber/ip networks...
    • by ffejie (779512)

      "come on.. just buy into level3 or other that have already done the pure fiber/ip networks..."

      Last I checked, Level3 didn't own fiber that runs anywhere near my house. And if it does (by chance) run near my house, it doesn't run into my house. The last mile is so crucial. As stated numerous times in these comments, the Cable Companies already have a large fiber plant that runs TV and Data, but the last mile runs over coax. And for people saying: "So build out the last mile," you need to realize how expe

  • Depends on your ISP (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Coopjust (872796) on Saturday August 19, 2006 @12:34AM (#15938929)
    I'm lucky enough to be served by Cablevision, who has dumped a ton of money in their infrastructure. Sites like Youtube, Google Video, etc. are no problem when you have 15mbps down and 2mbps up (With overhead, etc. it's realistically 13.5 down and 1.5 up to internet, behind a router). It's expensive ($55 a month) but extremely reliable and an excellent service.

    One of the reasons I stick with them is they don't traffic shape. They occasionally cap 24/7 bittorrent users (if a user on your node complains). But they don't limit the download and upload ports.

    While it took a long time for me to get cable, I think its worth it- Cablevision's network seems future proofed (well, as much as you can be)
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by moosesocks (264553)
      Don't be too sure. Just because the network's future-proofed doesn't mean that the company is

      Cablevision's had some *huge* financial troubles --- mainly as a result of dumping so much money into their infrastructure. During one of their financial crises, they completely pulled out of my town in the middle of one of their massive upgrades, leaving the people there high and dry with a fractured network that no sane company would want to buy.

      (Un)fortunately for the town, an insane company purchased the netwo
  • No it doesn't (Score:3, Informative)

    by Rufus211 (221883) <rufus-slashdot@h ... g ['kis' in gap]> on Saturday August 19, 2006 @12:34AM (#15938930) Homepage
    Ars Technica already has posted a follow-up to the original [arstechnica.com] story that says [arstechnica.com] this isn't actually needed.
  • "Looming threat" to you. Godsend to the rest of us. Sink or swim, dudes
  • Does anyone know why, with all the billions Verizon is spending, apartment buildings are "too difficult" for FIOS deployment at this time? I don't know that I want to switch away from my trusty cable modem, but I'd like the competition to spur higher upstream speeds from my cable provider.
    • by Grendel32 (818105)
      Verizon does have equipment that can accomodate MDU's. The issue is often the property owners, who for whatever reason do not want verizon comming into their complex. Either due to construction issues or aesthetic issues if the equipment needs to be placed on outside structures. Also due to the way the complex is situated may make it extremely difficult for engineers to place the fiber. From what I understand each MDU is handled on a case by case basis due to these issues
  • Just having fiber is NOT enough. Both Verizon and the Cable Companies face the same problem. That no matter what type of infrastructure you have, in many cases the limiting factor is your Upstream connection to the level 2 or 1 ISP. Theoretically Docsis 1.0 cable modems can do 38 Mb/s downstream and 10Mb/s upstream and have been around for YEARS. I don't know of a single cable operator that sells those rates to their residential customers. The latest version of DOCIS allows for a theoretical 160mb/s down an
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by kayditty (641006)
      What? Did you just copy from the fucking Wikipedia article or something?

      That no matter what type of infrastructure you have, in many cases the limiting factor is your Upstream connection to the level 2 or 1 ISP.

      I know it's REALLY hard to understand... But ISPs have MASSIVE amounts of transfer speed. Just trust me. Ok, the cable companies generally have less than the Bells (OBVIOUSLY), but they both have an INCONCEIVABLE AMOUNT OF 'BANDWIDTH.' We aren't talking about a single OC-3, or half of the time, ev

      • The big problem is the bandwidth of the node. Anyway my isp cablevision has been doing 10/1 for years. In november we got upgraded to 15/2 and 30/2 When docsis 3 comes out cablecos will be able to competew with verizon. Also cablecompanies have fiber to the nodes. Articles have been leaving that out. IT only takes getting more bandwidth to the node.
  • IMHO, CATV operators' investment in FTTH (Fiber-To-The-Home) and similar fiber optic based technologies is not that mindboggingly huge as someone might think. Every (sane) CATV operator already placed an extra empty conduit along the trenched route to you home. It's left there on purpose, for future use. Later on, when they need to fill it with a new cable - they use a technique known as "jetting" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jetting/ [wikipedia.org].

    The overall price of hardware that supports fiber optic transmission i
  • I'm *still* waiting for cable internet after 9 years....
    and DSL....

    They don't so much need upgrades as to get off of their asses
    and finish the last mile.

    The bastards provide digital cable, but are too cheap to
    finish the transition to broadband internet.

    There should be some kind of law that mandates uniform service
    across all customers of such a utility.
  • I hear complaints and sooking 60GB allowance isnt enough, compainies limiting speeds to "keep for non Internet purposes"

    Obviously you havent bee to Australia

    Telstra and Optus Australia's two major Telcos also have major dependance of their Cable TV Empire, so purpose limit the quality of Internet available

    Clear statement as low Maximum DSL speeds of 1500kb was implemented to minimise competition to their FoxTel TV

    10GB 8mbit cable approx $40US a month.

    10GB 1.5mbit Adsl approx $30US a month

    billions of dolla

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