HD Communication in North America – Cable Providers – July 2009 snapshot

Sitting on the fence, preparing for the inevitable

4 providers queried/spoken about HD plans:  Comcast, Cox, Optimum Lightpath (Cablevision), Time Warner

1 provider currently offering HD voice service:  Optimum Lightpath (Cablevision)

3 providers who plan to offer HD voice service:  Comcast, Cox, Time Warner

While cable companies are working through the details of how to implement HD on their networks, there’s no big rush to do so at this point in time.  Part of the issue is competitive – since AT&T and Verizon aren’t offering it, there’s no need to hurry the process of deploying services either for consumers or business customers.

The other part is in seeing deployable hardware that will support high-quality voice communications from end-to-end.   CableLabs has published specs supporting the DECT CAT-iq standard, but the organization was awaiting vendors to build and present products for formal certification as of the HD Communications Summit in May.

Currently offering HD voice service

Cablevision/Optimum Lightpath

Status:   Service launched June 2009.
Type:   Hosted, end-to-end turnkey service
Target market:  Medium to large businesses
Platform:  BroadSoft (formerly GENBAND) M6 Communications Application Server
Phones supported: Cisco 7945, 7965

Commentary: Cablevision has not been shy to dive into new technology and product offerings for businesses. The company was among the first MSOs to offer high-speed broadband services (50 to 100 Mbps).

A high-end, turnkey hosted voice service is likely to have appeal to the professional clients – hospitals, financial services clients, educational institutions, local government – Optimum already serves.

More information: HD Communications – Optimum LightPath talks about its business HD Voice offering

Plan to offer HD voice service

Comcast

Status: “It’s something we’re looking at, but we don’t have a schedule we’re prepared to discuss at this time,” Comcast spokesperson.

Commentary:  Given the intense competition for broadband and triple/quad play customers between Comcast and Verizon, it is not surprising that Comcast wants to keep its product plans closely held.  HD voice service could provide a differentiator

Cox Communications

Status: A product will emerge “closer to 2011,” but that date is “a long way out” and “a lot can happen,” said a Cox spokesperson in email.

Commentary:  Cox is in progress rolling out its telephony applications platform to all of its markets by the end of the year and has a lot of irons – including wireless – in the fire.  If needed – say if Verizon rolled out HD to FiOS and/or SMB customers — Cox could likely deploy a solution faster.

Time Warner

Status:  “When the business case is there,” Mike Jablon, Time Warner, HD Communications Summit.  During a panel discussing HD, Jablon said that while Time Warner and the cable industry as a whole was taking steps to deploy HD, there are currently no financial incentives to rush a product offering.

More information: HD Communications Summit: Cable bides its time

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