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Ideas for Building Resilient Communities After Hurricane Sandy | SustainableBiz.com

In his blog, "Are Hurricanes Our Next Dust Bowl?", Thomas Fisher talks about what resiliance to future climate change-induced distasters will look like.

 

He compares the measures used to resolve the 1930s Dust Bowl (an excellent must-watch PBS documentary) with those needed to protect us from superstorms like Hurricane Sandy.

 

Here are some excerpts:

 

Both Hurricane Sandy and the Dust Bowl were man-made disasters. Excessive wheat-crop production and poor tilling practices in the 1920s and early 1930s led to the loss of topsoil when drought arrived soon after the start of the Great Depression. Farmers plowing under so much of the prairie made the Dust Bowl almost inevitable.

 

Only when the Federal government stepped in to return large areas of land back to protected grassland, to hire people to plant hundreds of miles of windbreaks, and to educate farmers about how to till their fields in more sustainable ways did the Dust Bowl end. We created what many still view as the worst environmental disaster in American history, and we responded to it by returning much of the landscape to its natural state.

 

Hurricane Sandy holds similar lessons. Increased development along low-lying coastal areas increased the number of buildings destroyed, people displaced, and lives disrupted by wind, flooding, and fire.

 

Just as prairie grass proved essential in keeping the soil of the southern plains from blowing away, the reefs, wetlands, and sandbars long the eastern and southern coasts of the U.S. play a role in buffering the effects of storms that we would do well to restore.

 

The idea of building a $6 billion sea barrier at the mouth of New York's harbor represents the very thing we should not do. It will waste money and may even make the effects of future storms worse. It won't stop tidal surges and flooding that can affect New York City from other directions -- from Long Island Sound, for example, as happened during Hurricane Sandy. A surge barrier also won't do anything to protect all of the coastal development outside of it, which is where most of the damage from Hurricane Sandy occurred. Nor will it prevent the flooding that will occur as a result of an overall rise in sea levels, which will inundate low-lying areas regardless of what else we do.

 

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Comcast Cheats Elderly, Disabled, Income-Challenged Out of Service Discounts in Minnesota | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Comcast Cheats Elderly, Disabled, Income-Challenged Out of Service Discounts in Minnesota | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Comcast is pulling out every trick in the book to deny residents of St. Paul, Minn., a 10% discount off service at least one-quarter of the residents are entitled to receive.

A hard-fought franchise agreement between the city of St. Paul and Comcast includes a rare provision requiring the cable company to offer a $1 or 10% monthly discount off basic cable television (whichever is greater) and a 10% discount off other cable television services to senior citizens, persons who are disabled, and those economically disadvantaged.


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TX: Time Warner Cable Nears Completion of San Antonio's Maxx Upgrade; Faster Speeds for All | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

TX: Time Warner Cable Nears Completion of San Antonio's Maxx Upgrade; Faster Speeds for All | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Time Warner Cable is nearing the end of its $60 million “Maxx” upgrade of San Antonio, company officials said in a news release.

The Maxx upgrade most noticeably boosts broadband speeds up to six times faster than what customers used to receive, at no change in price, up to 300/20Mbps.


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De Blasio to FCC: Keep TVs Out of Duplex Gap | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

De Blasio to FCC: Keep TVs Out of Duplex Gap | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Add New York mayor Bill de Blasio to the list of those opposing the FCC placing TV stations in the so-called duplex gap (buffer between downlink and uplink spectrum) in the repack of stations following the broadcast incentive auction.

The FCC is proposing putting a handful of stations in that gap, where it is also placing wireless microphones and other unlicensed devices, as a way to insure it can free up sufficient contiguous spectrum in the incentive auction, but broadcasters, wireless companies and others, not including the mayor of the Big Apple, have pushed back.

In a letter to the FCC, Maya Wiley, counsel to the mayor, said that she was writing on behalf of the mayor to say that putting TV stations in the duplex gap in New York would "inhibit live broadcast production in major urban areas, complicate the use of microphones in live theater, and deprive millions of Americans of the full benefit of next generation Wi-Fi technologies...


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AT&T Tees Up $200 TV-Wireless Combo | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com

AT&T Tees Up $200 TV-Wireless Combo | Jeff Baumgartner | Multichannel.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Soon after clinching its acquisition of DirecTV, AT&T will look to expand its subscriber pie with the August 10 launch of national wireless and TV "All in One" bundles that will tie in access to its satellite TV service or the telco’s IP-delivered U-verse TV offering.

Chief among the new bundles is a $200 per month mix that will include HD and DVR service for up to four TV receivers (DirecTV or U-verse TV, where available), unlimited talk and text for four wireless lines and 10 gigabytes of sharable wireless data. AT&T claims that the deal represents an annual savings of at least $600 in the first 12 months.


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BEVCOMM connects Gigabit network in New Prague, MN | Ann Treacy | Blandin on Broadband

It’s great to see the list of Minnesota Gig communities increase…

BEVCOMM connects Gigabit network in New Prague, MN

New Prague, MN, August 1, 2015 – BEVCOMM announces immediate availability of unlimited Gigabit Internet speeds in New Prague, MN. Extremely fast Internet at speeds up to 1,000 Mbps and 100 times faster than the Internet speed in a typical U. S. household. Residential households with a fiber to the home connection can connect to incredible speeds, with no data limits for $90 per month with a bundled package.


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New York mayors chime in on Verizon-CWA union negotiations, FiOS rollouts | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom

New York mayors chime in on Verizon-CWA union negotiations, FiOS rollouts | Sean Buckley | Fierce Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

A group of mayors in New York have joined the Communications Workers of America (CWA) in their current union labor negotiations with Verizon Communications, while asking the telco to bring its fiber-to-the-home FiOS service to their communities.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and Kingston Mayor Shayne Gallo joined the CWA workers at a bargaining session with Verizon in Rye, N.Y.

Three more mayors from Albany, Utica and Rome -- plus the Town Supervisor of Brookhaven -- have also written letters to Verizon to increase broadband and video competition in their communities by building out FTTH services in their cities.


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CO: More good news for Craig’s economy concerning broadband | Audry Danner | Craig Daily Press

CO: More good news for Craig’s economy concerning broadband | Audry Danner | Craig Daily Press | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The good news increased this month!

We are pleased to tell you that new business contacts have increased since our first column was published last month. That's good news for Craig Daily Press and Craig Moffat Economic Development.

The city of Craig, CO recently asked Terry Carwile to bring together those interested in high speed telecommunications and broadband for our community. Terry has encouraged conversation between the Local Technology Planning Team, Craig Moffat Economic Development and others interested in broadband for Moffat County.

"The message to policymakers is clear: If you want to increase economic growth, focus on broadband," once said Robert Pepper, vice president of Global Technology Policy at Cisco.

We are embarking on discussions with our local businesses, city and county government, Moffat County School District and Colorado Northwestern Community College to leverage broadband development by a private provider and to facilitate discussion between all the community institutions that can “anchor” this effort for the future. The goal is to strengthen and retain quality business and attract quality workforce interested in living in our beautiful community.


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VTel and Its $116 Million Vt. Promise: Five Years on, Wireless Push Leaves Many Unconnected | John Lippman | Valley News

VTel and Its $116 Million Vt. Promise: Five Years on, Wireless Push Leaves Many Unconnected | John Lippman | Valley News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

In November 2010, Cavendish Town Manager Richard Svec sent a letter of “enthusiastic support” on behalf of VTel Wireless to Washington. The letter backed VTel’s application for federal stimulus money to build a fiber-optic telecommunications system in Springfield, VT and a wireless broadband system throughout the state.

Svec was excited about the prospect of his Windsor County town’s 1,367 residents, many of whom still relied upon dial-up service, finally being able to get high-speed Internet connections that would enable them to work from home, watch movies and TV shows, download music and enjoy easy and fast online access.

Five years later, Svec is still waiting. He said he hasn’t heard from anyone at VTel, whose offices are only 11 miles away, since a company engineer came to town several years ago to inspect locations to erect an antenna.

“We fully supported it because there was a need in our town,” said Svec, who backed the project to the National Telecommunications and Information Agency after he was solicited for support by VTel officials. “I’m a little bit disappointed.”


So is Margo Caulfield, who runs Cavendish Connects, a community news website that last fall surveyed residents about the availability and reliability of telecommunications services in the area. Of the 97 responses, six reported using VTel’s wireless broadband service, which received mixed reviews on reliability.


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Don't get fooled into clicking phony Windows 10 upgrade emails | Nick Mediati | PCWorld

Don't get fooled into clicking phony Windows 10 upgrade emails | Nick Mediati | PCWorld | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

If you’re still waiting for your reservation to come up as Microsoft rolls out Windows 10, we can’t blame you for being eager to get your virtual hands on Microsoft’s latest OS. But if you get an email encouraging you to upgrade to Windows 10, you’ll want to exercise a little caution, lest you get taken by scammers.

A post published to Cisco Systems’s company blog outlines how scammers are taking advantage of Windows 10’s launch to push ransomware onto unsuspecting PC users. At first glance, the emails look reasonably legit: Cisco notes that scammers are spoofing the sender’s email address to make it look as if the message is from Microsoft. Also, the blue-and-white color scheme used in the message nearly matches the colors Microsoft is using for Windows 10 marketing materials. So unless you look carefully, you could get fooled into thinking the email is actually from Microsoft.

An attached .zip file purports to be a Windows 10 installer, but according to Cisco, the attachment contains a piece of ransomware called CTB-Locker that encrypts your files and requests payment within 96 hours, lets your files be encrypted forever.

Yikes!


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Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations wrap up in Maui | Tracey Samuelson | Marketplace.org

Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations wrap up in Maui | Tracey Samuelson | Marketplace.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Negotiations wrap up Friday in the latest round of the five-year-old Trans-Pacific Partner negotiations, with final sticking points remaining over sugar, dairy, state-owned enterprises and the exclusivity period granted to the makers of certain types of drugs.

Ministers from the U.S., Japan, Canada and nine other countries are negotiating in private at a resort on the Hawaiian island of Maui to hash out the agreement’s final details.

“As anyone who has been in trade negotiations knows, those final decisions are always the most difficult,” Michael Froman, the U.S. Trade Representative, said earlier this week.

Outside the negotiation rooms, official advisers, congressional staff, trade groups, lobbyists and nonprofit advocates roam the resorts’ lobby, using every spare plug to charge phone and laptops, meeting among themselves and hoping to catch a moment with the delegates, either through official briefings or unguarded moments in the elevator or hotel restaurants.


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CWA & IBEW Leaders at Verizon Announce Plan to Stay on the Job & Continue Fight for a Fair Contract | CWA-Union.org

CWA & IBEW Leaders at Verizon Announce Plan to Stay on the Job & Continue Fight for a Fair Contract | CWA-Union.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Leaders of the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers announced that 39,000 Verizon workers up and down the East Coast will work without a contract when their collective bargaining agreement expires at midnight tonight, and continue their fight for a fair agreement while on the job.


The union leaders also announced that they will leave the sites of round-the-clock bargaining in Philadelphia and Rye, NY, where union and management teams have been meeting since June 22nd in what has so far been a vain attempt to reach a contract. The unions have informed the company, however, that they are prepared to schedule regular bargaining sessions, and urged the company to begin bargaining constructively.
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NC: Google Fiber Network Build Underway in Raleigh | Karl Bode | DSL Reports

NC: Google Fiber Network Build Underway in Raleigh | Karl Bode | DSL Reports | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Google Fiber's network build in Raleigh is underway. The company will be deploying 5,700 miles of fiber, connected to roughly 50,000 telephone poles, all tied to 26 fiber huts scattered around the city. Nine locations for fiber huts have just been picked out by Google, each one 28 feet long and 9 feet tall and acting as the backbone for the looming network. There's still no word on when the network will go live, however.


“We will open signups first in areas where the network is ready, permits are in place and we have crews to connect our fiber directly to homes," Google tells Raleigh locals.


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Can Cable Networks Deliver a Gigabit? | Doug Dawson | POTs and PANs

Can Cable Networks Deliver a Gigabit? | Doug Dawson | POTs and PANs | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Time Warner Cable recently promised the Los Angeles City Council that they could bring gigabit service to the city by 2016. This raises the question – can today’s cable networks deliver a gigabit?

The short answer is yes, they are soon going to be able to do that, but with a whole list of caveats. So let me look at the various issues involved:


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Republican FCC Commissions Itching to Move on Charter-Time Warner-Bright House Cable Merger | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

Republican FCC Commissions Itching to Move on Charter-Time Warner-Bright House Cable Merger | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Republican FCC Commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly are in a hurry to start the merger review clock on Charter Communications’ acquisition of Time Warner Cable while the agency contemplates how to handle access to submitted documents the two companies insist should be confidential.


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No Verizon Strike for Now, Says CWA Union; Workers Launch PR War on Company Instead | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap!

No Verizon Strike for Now, Says CWA Union; Workers Launch PR War on Company Instead | Phil Dampier | Stop the Cap! | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

After considering all of our options, your leadership has decided not to go on strike at midnight tonight, even though we have not yet reached a contract agreement,” came word Sunday from Dennis Trainor, vice president for CWA District One, which represents Verizon workers in New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts.

Verizon’s workers will stay on the job for now, launching a new strategy that will include sharing information with customers about Verizon’s unwillingness to invest in FiOS fiber expansion and improved broadband and phone service. The PR war will extend not just to customers but also to the media, politicians, and regulators. The union’s message: “Verizon’s greed knows no bounds.”


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MN: Broadband shifts from perk to need in rural areas | Janelle Atyeo | TriStateneighbor.com

MN: Broadband shifts from perk to need in rural areas | Janelle Atyeo | TriStateneighbor.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

When Kevin Wald wants to share information with his clients, he needs to think big and far.

Wald is CEO of Specialty Systems – or SpecSys – a business that designs equipment and manufactures it on contract for major companies such as AGCO sprayers and Roto-Mix manure spreaders. His offices are spread out in small southwestern Minnesota towns – Montevideo, Redwood Falls, Cloquet, Granite Falls, Benson and New Ulm, as well as Watertown, S.D. But his projects go worldwide.


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FCC Set-Top Committee to Meet Aug. 4 | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable

FCC Set-Top Committee to Meet Aug. 4 | John Eggerton | Broadcasting & Cable | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

The FCC has called an Aug. 4 meeting of the Downloadable Security Technology Advisory Committee, as the FCC committee gets down to the short strokes on recommendations for a downloadable successor to the CableCARD hardware for set-top box security.

It also comes amidst calls that the FCC recommend opening up those boxes to all video comers in an age of OTT.


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More Feasibility Studies in Colorado and Ohio | community broadband networks

More Feasibility Studies in Colorado and Ohio | community broadband networks | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Two more communities in Ohio and Colorado are seeking information through broadband feasibility studies.

The Aspen Daily News recently reported that Pitkin County has already completed phase one of its feasibility study. This past spring the primary Internet path coming into Aspen via CenturyLink fiber was severed causing widespread outage for 19 hours. The first half of the feasibility study sought ways to introduce a redundant path.


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WA: Seattle Center pilot uses TV white space to deliver faster Wi-Fi | Monica Alleven | Fierce Wireless Tech

WA: Seattle Center pilot uses TV white space to deliver faster Wi-Fi | Monica Alleven | Fierce Wireless Tech | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Seattle Center is using TV white space (TVWS) as part of a pilot project to see how the technology could be rolled out to city neighborhoods.

The new Wi-Fi network, which is being developed in partnership with Microsoft, will be able to serve 25,000 people simultaneously, according to a city press release. The new system enables users to browse at speeds more than 5,000 times faster than its previous network, enabling visitors to make Skype calls, back up photos and connect with events and vendors at Seattle Center.

Microsoft brought in a digital fiber line capable of transmitting multiple gigabits per second. Users can download a Microsoft Wi-Fi app that allows regular visitors to automatically connect to the platform at the highest possible speed.

The TV white space technology developed by Microsoft Research takes advantage of unused television channels. Television signals travel over longer distances and better penetrate walls and other obstacles, connecting access points throughout Seattle Center. The new system nearly quadruples the number of access points available to users, according to the Ballard News-Tribune.


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Chattanooga Fiber Network Triple Play: Smart Grid, Gigabit, Green Energy | Doug Mohney | TechZone360.com

Chattanooga Fiber Network Triple Play: Smart Grid, Gigabit, Green Energy | Doug Mohney | TechZone360.com | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Chattanooga is unique for a gigabit class network that covers the entire community, serving over 150,000 homes and businesses. Its advantages go far beyond simple connectivity and into smart grid and renewable energy. Duplicating Chattanooga's success, however, will be difficult at best for many cities without changes in mindsets and regulation.

EPB, the city-owned utility, decided to drop in a 100 percent fiber optic network to support its "smart grid" for power distribution. Since 2001, a number of upgrades to power monitoring and distribution have been rolled out, but 2008 marked the construction of a smart grid with fiber optic cabling running to every home and business in the territory. And everyone has a smart meter except for around 300 to 400 locations in the service area.


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US Rep. Kennedy promotes economic partnership concept between southeastern Mass & RI | Michael Gagne | Herald News

US Rep. Kennedy promotes economic partnership concept between southeastern Mass & RI | Michael Gagne | Herald News | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

US Representative Joseph Kennedy III is hoping to jumpstart discussions on a new economic strategy for southeastern Massachusetts — one that ignores the fact there is technically a border between this state and Rhode Island. That vision is based on leveraging assets that are nearby, whether those assets are in New Bedford, Taunton, Fall River, Attleboro, or in Providence and Warwick, Rhode Island.

“Treat Fall River, New Bedford, Taunton, Attleboro, Providence, Tiverton not as isolated silos, but as a combined economic force,” Kennedy said to members of the SouthCoast Development Partnership Friday morning in the Moot Courtroom at the University of Massachusetts School of Law.

“Traditional economic development strategies tend to ignore an obvious reality — the sense of community that is rarely shaped by city, state or district lines. Sure some of you, might live in Providence and do business in Fall River. Or you’re raising a family in Tiverton but teach in Dartmouth,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy began his address by saying that he hears three concerns primarily: that businesses can’t find enough qualified workers, energy costs need to be reined in, and the Massachusetts’ innovation-based economy “is leaving far too many people behind.”


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Early indications that FCC not enforcing Title II Internet universal service, anti-redlining provisions | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom

Early indications that FCC not enforcing Title II Internet universal service, anti-redlining provisions | Fred Pilot | Eldo Telecom | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

--FCC accepts AT&T assertion of Title II compliance on its face


--Consumer complaint against Comcast closed despite demand for $535,000 to establish Internet service

Earlier this year, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission deemed Internet service a common carrier utility under Title II of the Communications Act and thus subject to the law’s universal service and non-discrimination obligations. New FCC rules implementing the policy became final on June 12, 2015 and withstood judicial petitions by large telephone and cable companies and their trade associations to block them from taking effect.

Going forward, it remains to be seen whether the FCC will enforce Title II universal service and anti-redlining requirements against the large, dominant telephone and cable companies that provide much of the nation’s premise landline Internet service in tightly proscribed “footprints” within their service areas. Early indications are that the FCC is opting to not enforce these requirements even though it specifically declined to forbear their enforcement in its March 12, 2015 Open Internet Order and Rulemaking, finding that doing so would not be in the public interest. Harold Feld of Public Knowledge termed universal service “the quintessential common-carrier obligation.”


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Contrary To What You've Heard, TPP Will Undermine US Law -- Including Supreme Court Decisions | Mike Masnick | Techdirt

Contrary To What You've Heard, TPP Will Undermine US Law -- Including Supreme Court Decisions | Mike Masnick | Techdirt | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

One of the key lines of pure unadulterated bullshit spread by the USTR concerning the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement is that it won't lead to significant changes in US law. That's just wrong.


As KEI points out, it's pretty clear that the current text would completely undermine key Supreme Court rulings concerning state sovereign immunity from intellectual property disputes. Zack Struver and Tazio De Tomassi created a short video explaining why:


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Communications Workers of America Statement on Verizon Contract Talks | CWA-Union.org

Communications Workers of America Statement on Verizon Contract Talks | CWA-Union.org | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Collective bargaining agreements between Verizon and 39,000 members of CWA and IBEW expire at midnight tonight. CWA has put a constructive, comprehensive new bargaining proposal across the table at negotiations in Rye, NY that would offer the company significant healthcare and retiree cost savings.and union bargainers are currently waiting for a response from Verizon.


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DOCSIS 3.1 Seen Taking Off | Alan Breznick | Light Reading

DOCSIS 3.1 Seen Taking Off | Alan Breznick | Light Reading | Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream | Scoop.it

Seeking to join the Gigabit Parade, cable operators are apparently chomping at the bit to deploy the emerging next-gen DOCSIS 3.1 spec so they can offer 1 Gig and higher speeds themselves.

In its latest survey of cable providers across the globe released earlier this week, IHS Inc. found that, on average, providers expect to pass about a third of their residential broadband subscribers with DOCSIS 3.1-enabled headends by April 2017. In the US alone, that would translate to more than 17 million cable modem homes passed by D3.1, which is designed to support data downstream speeds as high as 10 Gbit/s and upstream speeds of 1 Gbit/s or more.

If this brisk rollout pace is realized, DOCSIS 3.1 would be far more widely deployed in the early going than its predecessor, DOCSIS 3.0, as well as earlier versions of the cable broadband spec. In fact, many cable systems have still not been upgraded for DOCSIS 3.0, more than nine years after CableLabs completed the spec and more than seven years after the first MSO deployments of D3.0 began.


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