In an effort to continuously provide the best service possible, OTELCO is upgrading our coaxial cable network in Blount County using new DOCSIS 3.1 technology. This upgrade will allow us to offer speeds as high as 1 Gbps and increase our existing coaxial customer’s bandwidth at no extra cost to them.
We have gotten a lot of questions about this upgrade from our customers, so we wanted to use this week’s blog to expand upon the subject. Below is an informational video, and extensive explanation of everything customers need to know about our DOCSIS 3.1 upgrade. Let’s jump right in!
Our original cable TV network has been adapted over the years to deliver broadband. For many years, this was a perfectly acceptable
way to provide our customers with a reliable connection, but as technology advanced, so did the way you use the Internet. To better serve the customers of today, we need a faster, more reliable network. That is why we are upgrading our Cable Modem Termination System (CMTS) from DOCSIS 3.0 to DOCSIS 3.1. But what does that mean?
DOCSIS stands for Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification. It is a type of CMTS, which acts as a huge router that uses the same technology used for sending television to send and receive Internet. By upgrading to DOCSIS 3.1, we are investing in a more powerful CMTS that can send a stronger signal to our customers — resulting in higher bandwidth that will rival the speeds of fiber while improving our Cable TV offerings.
Analog vs. Digital
Right now, OTELCO offers analog and digital TV, but the analog channels are limiting the capacity of our network. In this context, think of channels less as TV stations and more as pipelines through which providers can send TV or Internet signals.
Analog transmissions use electrical waves to transfer sound and video. In contrast, digital signals use binary code, or ones and zeros, to transport that same information. The binary system is faster and takes up less space on the network than the audio waves. In fact, for everyone channel it takes to send that analog transmission, we can send four channels of digital transmissions. So, to create the space we need to employ the new DOCSIS 3.1 technology, we will need to reduce our current analog channels.
What Our Customers Can Expect from the DOCSIS 3.1 Upgrade
OTELCO is converting 54 of our 70 analog TV channels to exclusively digital. Those 54 channels will free up 216 new channels we can use to send high-quality TV and Internet. For the time being, we are just switching to a new, smaller analog line up*, which you can see to your left. To reflect that channel line-up, existing analog customers will see a $9 decrease in their monthly bill.
Eventually, all our customers will need to convert to digital TV. If you are unsure of whether you are accessing our analog or digital line-up, take a look at your TV. Is there a set-top box there? If the answer to that question is no, then that TV is receiving our analog line up and will need a digital set-top box to get all 70 channels going forward.
As our digital subscribers may already know, set-top boxes are rented for $6 a month. To ease that transition for our customers, we will be waving the first six months’ rental fee for one digital set-top box. Please keep in mind that every TV you want to have all 70 channels transmitted to will now require that set-top box. Digital customers that are currently renting one set-top box but want to access the full 70 channels on another TV will need an additional box. Do not worry, though, our six-month promotion will also be available to those digital customers.
But what about those new speeds?
Besides the previously mentioned reduced analog line-up, customers can expect some serious speed increases. For new customers, that will mean Internet packages available from 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps. For existing customers, it will mean free automatic upgrades at ten times their current download speed. If customers want to invest in a higher bandwidth after their automatic upgrade, they can call into customer service.
To ensure that you can access these new speeds, you may need to exchange your current modem. OTELCO will be reaching out to customers individually to let them know if they need a new modem. If you do need a new modem, we will make arrangements to switch out your old modem with a new one at no additional price.
Getting there Together
Right now, OTELCO is plugging away on the DOCSIS 3.1 upgrade, but we need your help getting it done. If you think you will need a new set-top box, please call us now to make the switch. You will still receive the six-month promotion, and you will make the transition easier for everyone.