Some cable ISPs are starting to test pre-DOCSIS 3.0 equipment. The DOCSIS 3.0 standard will allow cable modems to achieve speeds of more than 100Mbps:
Cable ISPs currently use DOCSIS 1.1, which has been "good enough" in the past. Unfortunately, when compared to fiber, DOCSIS 1.1 lacks in the speed department. DOCSIS 3.0 has the potential to drastically change that, with download speeds of up to 160Mbps and uploads of up to 120Mbps possible. In addition, DOCSIS 3.0 also offers full support for IPv6, along with enhanced network management and security features. DOCSIS 3.0 also offers enough bandwidth for IPTV and other high-def video services.
Trials of pre-DOCSIS 3.0 gear have been promising. One of the deployments mentioned above has resulted in download speeds of 100Mbps for customers of a South Korean ISP that has a reach of 1.1 million subscribers. Another DOCSIS 3.0 trial in Singapore earlier this year saw speeds of up to 145Mbps.
The first round of DOCSIS 3.0 certification comes at an important time for the cable industry. Cable companies used to be the unquestioned kings of download speeds, but they're finding it impossible to compete with fiber-optic deployments such as Verizon's FiOS service. Last month, Verizon announced its new 20/20 symmetrical FiOS service, and earlier this week made the service available across its entire territory. The company also rolled out a new service tier with speeds of 50Mbps down and 30Mbps up.