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Com Hem to test symmetrical 1.2Gbps broadband ahead of commercial launch

Swedish cable operator Com Hem is testing 1.2Gbps symmetrical broadband in Stockholm ahead of a planned commercial launch next year.

Com Hem’s test of ultra-fast symmetrical broadband is being conducted as part of an upgrade of its network to support DOCSIS 3.1. The company has already replaced electronics and optics in the most important nodes in the network, and will continue upgrading the access network in 2018.

The 1.2Gbps test will be run over the course of this spring. The company said it planned to launch an offering over large sections of its network. As an initial step, Com Hem will launch a service offering 1.2Gbps downstream and 100Mbps upstream later this year, with the option to roll out the symmetrical 1.2Gbps service if there is sufficient commercial demand.

Thomas Helbo

Thomas Helbo

“Once we have taken the step to DOCSIS 3.1, we will have increased capacity and speed for our customers at the same time as quality in the network improves. It’s like adding extra lanes to a highway along with a raised speed limit and improved safety. Com Hem is the first in the world to test symmetric 1.2Gbps over cable, and many of the larger international cable operators are contacting us to learn more about how we’re working on the introduction of DOCSIS 3.1,” said Thomas Helbo, CTO of Com Hem.

“Data usage is increasing by 40% per year. By updating to DOCSIS 3.1, we will have a future-proof, competitive infrastructure in our FiberCoax network. We will offer faster, more stable broadband to our end customers, and a lower cost of investment for our landlords.”

Speaking to DTVE last year, Helbo said that Com Hem was looking into building a ‘Full-Duplex’ DOCSIS network in order to be able to offer symmetrical broadband services, something that has proved challenging for cable operators. He said the company’s goal was to be able to provide a range of services that were network-agnostic, meaning that Com Hem subscribers can access the same services irrespective of whether they are connected to its HFC cable network or directly to fibre-to-the-home.

Full Duplex DOCSIS is designed to double the capacity available for upstream traffic in HFC networks by simultaneously using the same spectrum, unlike current technologies such as frequency division duplexing – currently used by DOCSIS – and time-division duplexing, used by Wi-Fi and G.Fast networks.

Last month, Swedish mobile operator Tele2 struck a deal to buy Com Hem in a move designed to establish it as a major integrated mbile and fixed-line operator in the country.