Cable digitization efforts in developing economies will be a key driver for cable broadband penetration worldwide, giving service providers access to more lucrative markets with service revenues reaching the US$50 billion mark in 2017, reports ABI Research (

Cable technology’s adoption of DOCSIS 3.0, with higher maximum speeds than DSL, has been a key competitive strength against Telco’s offering only DSL service in the United States, Canada and parts of Western Europe, says the research group.

“Cable MSOs’ marketing focusing on use of advanced services, such as video streaming, and number of devices in the home has encouraged consumers to upgrade to higher bandwidth tiers,” says Adarsh Krishnan, senior analyst, TV & video at ABI Research.

Looking to next generation bandwidth-hogging services, including 3DTV and 4K video resolutions, technology providers are working with operators to prove out the next generations of DOCSIS. DOCSIS 3.1 focuses on upstream channel bonding (for higher upload speeds).

“Intel has demonstrated its Puma 6 modem achieving 1 Gbps downlink using 24 channels, while Arris has tied together 12 modems to achieve 4.7 Gbps downlink,” says Sam Rosen, practice director of TV & video at ABI Research.

Cable operators in developing regions are entering the market for broadband services using the latest technologies — often leapfrogging older protocols. Cable MSOs’ ability to offer traditional video services (the cable vendor’s historical business), broadband services, and digital VoIP services (using EMTA’s) gives cable vendors a triple-play offering that has attracted a large number of consumers.

As of 2011, China accounted for 57% of subscribers in the Asia-Pacific region. Chinese government investment and cable digitization initiative in an effort promote interplay between TV broadcasters, telecom carriers and Internet operators have been instrumental in this development.