October 18, 2011
Getting Up to Speed on WOW
After spending the better part of 2011 transitioning from analog to digital video in all of its markets in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, Denver-based WideOpenWest (WOW), which provides high-speed Internet, cable TV and voice, finally has completed that project and has updated its plant to support DOCSIS 3.0.
"I’m happy to report the work has concluded, and our cable channels are all being delivered digitally,” wrote Steven Cochran WOW's president and CEO on the overbuilder’s corporate blog. "Because of this work, we have also added between 30 and 40 new HD channels in each region this year. That means we now have over 90 HD channels and hundreds of hours in HD on-demand available."
Cochran thanked WOW's customers for their patience during the move to all-digital, adding, "I understand this work has caused some pain as you’ve added new equipment, kept up on channel movements and endured the occasional service outage while we worked diligently to get your services transitioned."
With the additional bandwidth, WOW intends to add more HD channels before the end of the year.
WOW also has been busy upgrading its CMTS plant to support DOCSIS 3.0. "That work is largely complete at this point," wrote WOW Technology Editor and Vice President/Engineering Steve Stanfill just last month. "What this means for our customers is the availability of higher speed data connections as well as more network availability during times of peak congestion."
With the DOCSIS 3.0 work complete, WOW is adding two new Internet tiers to its existing 15 Mbps down/2 Mbps up “Xtreme Turbo” product. The two new Internet speeds are 30 Mbps down/3 Mbps up and 50 Mbps down/5 Mbps up. New modems will be required to support the DOCSIS 3.0-based products.
As far as the impact of faster speed tiers, Stanfill explained, "In practice, Netflix, Hulu, Vudu and other video providers have practical limits on the stream they will send to any one customer, and all of these streams will fit very nicely into one of WOW’s lower-speed tiers, thank you very much. Said another way, you may not see a lot of difference on most of the content downloads/streaming in the new superfast-speed tiers, particularly at peak times when servers providing the requested content are sharing bandwidth to potentially thousands of customers.”
He continued, “It certainly will make a huge difference in non-peak times or other types of traffic such as peer-to-peer, gaming, etc. So it depends on how you use the Internet, and how many users you have in your household that would be using the service simultaneously."
In another corporate blog posting, WOW Chief Marking Officer Cathy Kuo said the cableco now is offering HBO GO. "Many customers have requested HBO GO and, happily, we were able to recently launch the service. Customers who subscribe to HBO are able to access a wide variety of HBO content, with over 1,400 shows including HBO originals, hit movies, sports and comedy and more – on your computer, iPad, iPod or Android smartphone."