Cablefax The Magazine - September 2021 - 14

MSO 10G Pioneer
Mediacom helped show the world
10G internet is a real possibility.
Cable providers are always thinking one step ahead, formulating predictions
of future network capacity at least daily, if not hourly. Since
2019, the farther-off milestone has been 10G, an initiative representing
the availability of simultaneous 10Gbps speeds.
Associations like NCTA, CableLabs and SCTE have been hard at work
on both the technology itself
and creative ways to communicate
what the 10G initiative
is to those living outside of
the connectivity circle. When
it came to deciding on how to
test the tech in the field, the
associations all agreed: they
wanted to get people talking.
A suggestion was made that a
smart home be outfitted with nextgen
tech that would benefit from
10G, and Mediacom was chosen
to bring the idea to life. A house
was purchased in Ames, Iowa,
and the operator began working
with CommScope and others to
transform 10G from a laboratory
concept into a tangible product. The
original plan was to hold an event in late spring of 2020, but the unveiling
was pushed to September of last year due to the pandemic.
There was a certain appeal to debuting the 10G home in a rural
market. The exhibit put more than 70 internet-enabled devices,
including a Samsung QLED 8K Smart TV and the Double Robotics
Telepresence Robot, on display to a demographic that typically isn't
the first to receive the latest and greatest in top-notch broadband
and the technology it enables. Fiber-to-the-home, which has been
embraced as a future-proof delivery method for strong broadband
services, is typically first deployed in densely-populated areas. Ames
doesn't fit that category, claiming only 66,000 residents.
" One of the messages we really wanted to deliver was that 10G is
in our minds the very good alternative to a fiber-to-the-home kind
of scenario. And one of the problems with fiber-to-the-home is
this issue of how long it takes to get built and the fact that almost
everywhere it's actually been built... they build it where the density
and the demographics make sense, " Mediacom SVP/CTO JR Walden
says. " This is a technology you can take to rural America. "
Mediacom essentially upgraded the entire neighborhood surrounding
the smart home to 10G. That network is still live, but there were a
number of hoops to jump through before the switch could be flipped.
14
CablefaxTopOps.com
A Hamilton Beach Smart Coffee Maker and a Samsung
refrigerator capable of grocery shopping were on display
in the 10G Smart Home's kitchen.
" We have a lot of customers who own their own modems, so when
we were preparing for DOCSIS 4.0, you've got to get rid of these old
DOCSIS 2.0, 3.0 modems, " says Mediacom SVP of government and
public relations Tom Larsen. " You've got to coax all these neighbors
to give up equipment that they've had forever. "
Finding the right mix of technologies to place in the home was a
challenge in itself, and one that Mediacom thought it could get that
much more right by asking for help. The team called in the cavalry:
former CableLabs CTO Ralph Brown. He retired back in 2019, but
kept a hand in the industry by forming Brown Wolf Consulting.
" He knew all the right technologies, all the right people to call and
had lots of contacts outside
the industry, in the consumer
electronics realm, " Walden
says. Those who toured the
home were shown holographic
3D images on a Looking Glass
light field display, connected
with doctors through the latest
in telemedicine from UnityPoint
Health and offered a deeper
look at how 10G can transform
the growing world of esports.
As for when 10G will become
widely available, it is anybody's
guess. Each operator has to
make its own choice on when
to push forward with the technology.
Ultimately, deployment
will come down to a question of customer demand. " One of the
things that remains outstanding is: are we building the network for
customer demand, or are we building the network to market symmetrical
speeds to customers? " Walden says. " It's hard to do both at
the same time. " - Sara Winegardner
FAST FACTS
„ The 10G Smart Home was unveiled to the public on
September 17, 2020. Representatives from
state and local governments and tech influencers
were among those taking some of the first tours.
„ More than 70 internet-enabled devices found their
way into the smart home, including a Samsung
dishwasher that can be controlled via smartphone
and the Double Robotics telepresence robot-a
self-driving, two-wheeled videoconferencing robot.
„ 10G was first introduced at CES 2019. NCTA,
CableLabs, SCTE and others presented the idea during
an event titled " The Future of the Broadband Network. "
September 2021
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Cablefax The Magazine - September 2021

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