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April 30, 2014
Fierce Cable

Cox, Mediacom plot broadband speed increases, as DOCSIS 3.1 rebranded as Gigasphere

By Jim Barthold

A pair of cable MVPDs plan to hike broadband speeds to meet customer demand and negate advances by competitors such as Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Fiber, AT&T (NYSE: T) GigaPower and CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL).

Cox Communications President-CEO Pat Esser told Bloomberg that his company is "working on our road map now to bring gigabit speeds to customers this year" to meet the Google Fiber and AT&T GigaPower challenge head-on.

Mediacom, on the other hand, is not going quite that fast, but it is going faster in its franchise areas in primarily secondary U.S. markets. The company announced an overall speed increase for three tiers of service, the eighth such upgrade in the last decade. Additionally, Mediacom recently announced a 305 Mbps tier in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The across-the-board increases, which drove standard packages from 30 Mbps to 50 Mbps, premium speeds from 50 Mbps to 100 Mbps, and 105 Mbps to 150 Mbps, came about "because of consumer demand and the increased use of bandwidth," Mediacom spokeswoman Phyllis Peters told the Des Moines Register.

The changes show that the gig is up for more than just bandwidth in the cable industry. Cable, which has never been known for creating signature names that roll off consumer tongues, is hoping to change that by coining "Gigasphere" to be its consumer-facing brand for what had previously been known as DOCSIS 3.1. Cable marketers and communications executives have been tasked with developing guidelines for the proper use of Gigasphere while DOCSIS remains in se by CableLabs, cable engineers and the technical community, a press release issued by the NCTA said.

"Gigasphere stands for incredibly fast access to the Web, the world and our lives," NCTA President-CEO Michael Powell said in a press release. "It breathes life into the breadth, scope, scale, opportunity and impact of this next-generation technology."