The difficulty that most customers have in identifying concretely with rates of data throughput has led operators such as Cox Communications to try ways to give their high- speed data subs a preview of what a speed upgrade looks like. At the same time, the industry’s success with IP communications has only heightened the need to minimize the kinds of service disruption that such trials have up until now entailed. With the help of a PacketCable Multimedia policy solution from Camiant, Cox is now rolling out an automated preview program across its nationwide DOCSIS 1.1 infrastructure. "Cox high-speed Internet customers will be able to experience speed previews without service interruptions or the need to reboot their modems," Scott Hightower, Cox VP data product development and support, said in a statement. Camiant VP Marketing and Business Development Ed Delaney said that it is more than a win for Cox and Camiant: "It’s a rousing vote of support for and validation of PacketCable Multimedia and the notion of policy." Delaney said that this Cox application differs from one announced in January with Buckeye Cablevision in that Cox’s Speed Preview "is a bulk upgrade of a whole tier of subscribers … whereas the Buckeye TurboButton is really more individual-subscriber based." Cable operators have different views of the cost-effectiveness of the various applications that would require a policy server, Delaney said. But it only takes one application to get the PCMM ball rolling. "Once the policy server architecture is deployed … you can use that infrastructure to support a host of applications," he said. -Jonathan Tombes

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