Cox Communications has become the first U.S. operator to buy into Vyyo‘s spectrum overlay technology, placing initial orders for 3 GHz passives aimed at servicing Cox Business Services.

Vyyo’s business is built around the belief that cable operators can use the spectrum above the 750/860 MHz residential network to target adjoining business customers with selected high bandwidth services. Cox said it will use the overlay to deliver high-speed symmetrical data services from 10 to 200 Mbps, T-1 voice trunking, and specialized commercial video programming to business customers just off its residential networks without interfering with the residential voice, video and data services.

Cox sometimes uses fiber to feed specific business customers, but "we want to be positioned to meet needs that do not demand fiber," Ken Williams, Cox’s engineering director, said during an e-mail correspondence. "We enjoy a great business in offering commercial customers capacity that is not used by the residential network, but as residential bandwidth consumption increases, we are looking at new approaches to meet the commercial opportunity."

While not specifically focused on it, Vyyo’s gear could be "potentially a great opportunity" to add bandwidth for a targeted high-end tier of high-definition programming, Williams agreed. Compression helps "Compression and lower bit rates for video is one solution to offering quantity, but so is dedicating extra bandwidth to high rate/quality HD for those customers willing to pay for it," he wrote.

Finally, the extended bandwidth only goes so far – actually, it goes where the residential network goes – so there’s sometimes a gap at the end of the line. Running coax from that point to a business is relatively inconsequential, but there’s also an opening for an expanded use of fixed wireless as "temporary service feeds pending a planned plant extension," Williams said. – Jim Barthold

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