Alaska's GCI to extend its HFC network with ATX gear

Alaskan broadband company GCI is extending the life of its existing hybrid-fiber coax (HFC) network by planning to deploy ATX Networks GigaXtrend XS family of 2GHz taps and passives in its network. GCI said that it will begin installing the GigaXtend XS taps and passives in late spring.

These taps and passives are DOCSIS 4.0-compatible, which means that the company is able to extend its HFC network to 1.2 GHz and eliminate the need to replace passive devices in its outside plant when it makes the transition to the FCC version of the DOCSIS 4.0 standard.

DOCSIS 4.0 is the latest evolution of HFC and it enables 10 Gbps download speeds and upload speeds of up to 6 Gbps, allowing cable companies to offer symmetrical multi-gig broadband plans to match those offered by fiber providers.

However, the DOCSIS 4.0 standard, which was released in March 2020, has yet to be commercially deployed so this is considered an introductory step. By deploying ATX gear that supports multi-gigabit services, GCI is able to support its immediate goals and still prepare for the next phase.

GCI has committed to delivering 10 Gbps services to its subscribers using a combination of its HFC network and greenfield fiber. The company told FierceTelecom earlier this year that it will roll out a mix of high-splits and node splits on its HFC network and will also deploy greenfield fiber in rural communities to reach its goal of delivering 10 Gbps services over the next few years.

ATX’s GigaXtend XS 2 GHz taps and passives were recently part of a CableLabs-sponsored DOCSIS 4.0 FCC lab test in which companies demonstrated that they were able to achieve downstream speeds of nearly 9 Gbps.