Videotron, Cisco team up to offer ‘wideband’ residential Internet


Internet service provider Videotron Ltd. and Cisco Systems Canada Corp. have teamed up to deliver residential bandwidth speeds of up to 100 Mbps to Videotron customers.

The Cisco Wideband technology, which is being tested through Videotron’s Internet Protocol Next Generation Network (IP NGN), has been accessible as an experimental service to 150 Videotron clients in the Montreal area since December. The company hopes to release the service to broader markets in a few months’ time.

At least one analyst thinks Wideband is a big step up for Videotron in meeting bandwidth demands. “We were quite impressed. Vin Diesel wasn’t there, but he was in the room,” says Iain Grant, managing director of consulting firm Seaboard Group.

Videotron says it’s moving forward on Wideband to meet growing bandwidth demands of consumers, especially in emerging Internet services like online video.

“Entertainment executives as well as analysts have said businesses that continue to succeed in the high-tech market are those meeting the increasing demands of Internet users in terms of capacity,” says Manon Brouillette, senior vice-president of marketing in content and product development at Videotron.

Speed increases are due to changes in Videotron’s cable modem termination system (CMTS) and implementing multi-data-channel bonding.

Cisco is providing DOCSIS 3.0 network architecture to enable Wideband.

Videotron says, theoretically, this allows download speeds of up to a maximum of 320 Mbps with eight bonded channels. Upstream transfers, which use one virtual channel, were not discussed by Cisco or Videotron. This round of Wideband rollout is being called a “first phase.”

“Wideband allows a service provider to take multiple channels of the hybrid fibre coaxial cable and to bond multiple channels to make it look like one back pipe, says Surya Panditi, vice-president and general manager of the CMTS business unit at Cisco.

Videotron says increasing the network speeds doesn’t involve significant upgrade costs. Customers will have to switch their current cable modems to a multi-channel modem if they wish to take advantage of the service.

While questions have been raised over the maturity of channel bonding technology for the consumer Internet, Grant thinks Wideband holds great promise for Videotron.

“Videotron’s been working with Cisco on its implementation for 18 months. Every technology starts out being immature, but these guys aren’t neophytes. Right now, it looks pretty robust.”


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