Cox Cable has issued an RFI that includes requests for PON/RF distribution with high-speed broadband, very similar to the FiOS model of Verizon. The RFI leaked last week at NXTcomm but had been rumored even before that show. It is apparently a true RFI, meaning that there is no immediate expectation of an equipment order. We hear that Cox is simply preparing an internal position paper on alternatives for plant modernization, given the current war between cable and telcos that provide video.
The question cable operators must answer is not only whether they can deploy FTTH, but how widespread telco FTTH could become. A cable industry study previously showed that the cable plant, even DOCSIS 3.0, could not compete with full FTTH should it be deployed. Our own modeling shows that Verizon could expect to reach about 70% of its customers with FTTH, that AT&T could reach perhaps 26%, and that Qwest could reach only 11% without significant shortfalls in ROI or significant improvements in cost or revenue.