What's new? NTL, the UK cable operator destined to merge with Telewest one day, yesterday unveiled its new cable broadband strategy. A 10 Mbps download speed will be the new standard. And moving on to the new DOCSIS 3.0 standard, bit rates will be in the 30-50 Mbps range. According to Alan Breznick of Cable Digital News, speeds could even go to 100 Mbps and up, using this new standard.
What is the relevance? A 100 Mbps pipe seems to be the standard, for the next few years. Cable (coax) is not at all falling behind, compared to the copper networks owned by PTT's and Bells. DOCSIS 3.0 will do for coax what DSL does for copper. Current DSL upgrades across Europe to ADSL2+ have a theoretical maximum of 24 Mbps, but VDSL will go to 52 Mbps and VDSL2 as far as 100 Mbps. One aspect that remains to be seen, is how bandwidths drop with distance to the exchange (where the nearest fiber connection is; fiber all the way to the home (FTTH) today offers 100 Mbps and will ultimately prove to be the best (wired) infrastructure, but at the cost of digging up the streets all the way to the customer). In short, the race is still on between copper/DSL and cable/DOCSIS.