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Re: Cable Modems (fwd)

  David Lesher wrote:
  >From what I have read, I think the Motorola Cablecomm
  equipment has the best chance of success. TCI has commited to buy
  of them I think. 
  > {fwd}
  > From: Lars Poulsen <lars@silcom.com>
  > This is an attempt to start a fresh discussion about cable modem technology.
  > I am submitting this both to the TELECOM DIGEST (telecom@massis.lcs.mit.edu)
  > and COM-PRIV@lists.psi.com, as well as to a couple of people I have discussed
  > related issues with in the past.
  > Many of us believe that the best bet to give the local telephone companies
  > competition is the CATV operators. When it looked like such a competitive
  > battle was coming up, the "Baby Bells" (the local telephone companies in the
  > USA) started buying into cable TV companies in the UK (United Kingdom of
  > England, Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland) in order to understand the game
  > from the other side. They seemed to be quite successful.
  > Now, in the US, we are seeing the telephone companies pushing to be alllowed to
  > become ISPs (Internet Service Providers) through unregulated subsidiaries.
  > And the Cable companies are trying to start pilot projects with Internet
  > access.
  > I asked an Australian, who said OPTUS (the "dominant" telco in Australia, which
  > is also the "dominant" CATV operator) is rolling out cable modems for INternet
  > access:
  > > >Which system have they settled on in your part of the world ?
  > > >What is the upstream bitrate ?
  > >** from John Wiltshire <jw@qits.net.au> 08/27/96  4:24pm +1000
  > > Check out www.optus.net.  They have most of the information I
  > > am using there.
  > That turned out to be a singularly uninformative piece of propaganda. Here are
  > some quotes:
  > "It isn't here yet - but it is coming."
  > "Cable modems tend to be implemented using one of the following technologies".
  > The company I work for has decided that it is strategically important for us to
  > build a cable modem. We are hiring staff to work on it. But after we have
  > started to talk to cable system operators and cable equipment builders (hybrid
  > fiber-to-coax gateways) I have concluded the following about cable modems:
  > 1. There are a few technically successful demonstrations. Some of these are
  >    quite successful, running a virtual ethernet over two separate cable
  >    channels (one out, one upstream).
  > 2. The ones that are technically impressive (as described above) tend to use
  >    ether-to-coax boxes that cost USD 3000-USD 5000 apiece. Service at this
  >    price is not commercially viable.
  > 3. Systems that have achieved significantly useful uplink bandwidth, have
  >    generally had to rebuild much of the low-level infrastructure to make it
  >    work. It would have been cheaper to run a new pair of telephone wires to
  >    the homes. (But then the telephone company would be more likely to win the
  >    game than the cable company. In OZ, they are the same, in the US, the game
  >    is perceived to be a horserace between the telco and the cable company.)
  > 4. When the cable companies in the UK (which were owned by the US local
  >    telephone companies) rolled out telephone service to compete with British
  >    Telecom (in what was seen a a preview of the coming US battle between the
  >    telcos and the cablecos) they actually ran a telephone pair to each
  >    household. They designed a TV coax cable with a telephone pair attached
  >    on the outside, and this was used in all new TV cable installation. Thus,
  >    they had the telephone pair pre-positioned when they rolled out telephone
  >    service. It is obvious, that the apparent success of this "telephone service
  >    by cable companies" demonstration does not demonstrate anything of relevance
  >    to the US market.
  > 5. There are about 15 incompatible modulation schemes, most of which can
  >    provide 10-30 Mbps "downstream", but most of which provide only a shared
  >    upstream capacity of around 2Mbps. Some systems derive NO upstream bandwidth
  >    from the cable, but use a telephone call (V.34) for the upstream path.
  > Clearly, there is a significant mismatch between the hype and the reality.
  > In such an environment, it is generally useful to have a discussion to check
  > the facts. Gentle readers, have are been misled, or are the facts really that
  > different from the hype and the market expectations ?
  > / Lars Poulsen - lars@silcom.com - http://www.silcom.com/~lars/
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