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Turning Cable’s 10G Foray Into a Sales Proposition

Broadband Speed
Craig Leddy

Craig Leddy

By Craig Leddy

When cable leaders announced a trademarked technological initiative called 10G, even many stalwart industry veterans couldn’t suppress a wry smile. Since cable leaders had publicly chided mobile carriers for their hype of 5G, the 10G effort seemed like a marketing campaign to double-down amid the coming threat of 5G mobile broadband.

Never mind that in mobile’s case the G stands for generation and in cable’s case it means gigabit. The clash of the Gs marks an effort by mighty industries to draw a line in the sand in the battle over the future of broadband. In this age of instantaneous perceptions and knee-jerk tweets, marketers have learned not to let facts get in the way of a good story. You’ve got 5G? We’ve got twice as much G, baby!

But cable leaders insist the effort isn’t aimed at countering 5G marketing, and it isn’t empty hype. The 10G moniker, which is trademarked by NCTA – The Internet & Television Association, signifies a quantum leap in cable internet speed, plus lower latency and tighter security. Having successfully launched gigabit coax downstream service using DOCSIS 3.1 technology and existing hybrid fiber coax infrastructure, the industry is developing Full Duplex DOCSIS to provide 10 gigabits per second (Gbps) upstream too.

10G logo and taglineCan cable engineers really deliver symmetrical 10 Gbps? Don’t bet against them. Cable’s technology community has an uncanny knack for squeezing more capacity out of their pipes. During the recent Light Reading Cable Next-Generation Conference, engineers said the industry’s focus on 10G may be a prelude to working on 25G, 50G, 100G or you-name-it G. And they said that with a straight face.

Yet technologists struggle to describe real-world use cases for this firehose of data. Like 5G, 10G is getting encased in language about IoT, AI, advanced video, smart cars and other marvels for consumers that may sound cool but are struggling to scale up. Currently consumers don’t really need 1 gigabit and most of their devices can’t even handle it. Giving a household 10 Gigs is like building an airport runway to land a supersonic jet in their garage. Upgrading to 10G is regarded as an important way for cable to future-proof its delivery networks, but that can be a tough sell to the guy who has to pay for it.

The good news for cable business-service marketers and their channel partners is that their customers are the ones who will benefit from gigabit speed the most. Businesses and institutions are the best candidates for ultra-gigabit, low-latency services: health-care networks transferring massive MRIs and X-rays; universities providing rich-media resources to students; financial and government entities uploading voluminous files; and SMBs and enterprises increasingly relying on cloud, e-commerce, video communications and streaming. Higher connectivity supports platforms for SD-WAN, advanced security, unified communications and other emerging business applications.

10G provides the opportunity for business marketers to …

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