# India, DOCSIS, last mile broadband and more...

Update - 12 July 2022

While migrating this old post from Wordpress to Hugo I realise that many of old external linked images are not available at source anymore and that breaks many of the external photos references on the blog.

In my previous post, I shared how I am running redundant uplinks at home (in non-BGP based setup) with the primary link on RF and secondary on DOCSIS. One of my good friends asked me the reason for the sudden jump in DOCSIS-based players across India, especially in smaller cities.

Well, there are multiple reasons for it:

1. Fibre is less hard but still remains a cost point. ISPs in large metro cities ran fibre to the user’s building and go on cat5e/cat6 beyond that. That’s pretty much a lot of FTTH players do in India. That’s not possible in smaller cities which do not have multi-dwelling units.
2. While the cost of fibre is low, the cost of CPE (i.e ONU in the case of GPON or media converter for active networks) is still slightly high. It has come dome drastically in last few years and is about to reach a point where it’s cost won’t be a consideration in near future. Presently at around 2000-2500 ~ $40 USD that is still a hard cost for mass deployment. On the other hand cost of DOCSIS 2.0 as well as DOCSIS 3.0 modems is extremely low. 3. A considerable part of long coax plant of LCOs got converted into Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) as the digital television broadcast is pushed further across the country. So a lot of fibre is already present now (hanging around!) near to a large number of homes even in smaller cities. 4. The demand for bandwidth is increasing but a lot in terms of GB usage a month while not in terms of raw speeds in megabit per second at the same rate. So while 2Mbps to 5-10Mbps is a major upgrade. Beyond 10-20Mbps there’s just not much demand as yet. It would be great once 4k streaming and more VR stuff get popular but at current levels, demand for speeds isn’t increasing beyond 10-20Mbps due to lack of “killer” application which takes more bandwidth. 5. DOCSIS networks can be eventually upgraded to GPON all the way to end user with the fair amount of changes. Operators even do hybrid DOCSIS-GPON where they move high capacity end users on dedicated cable headends & even to GPON while leaving low demand users on DOCSIS. 6. The cost of termination coax is low & relatively easy to handle compared to splicing fibre to pigtail. Thus DOCSIS is a cheap way to build the last mile in tier 3 cities. While the cost of RG-6/RG-11 cable is on the high side (against the cost of fibre) the equipment is priced pretty low. #2 here is important. While$40 may sound not much in West, that cost is really high. As per available data, 12.4% of Indian population is below the poverty line. Furthermore, if we speak of per capita income was Rs 93,293  ~ $1400 for year 15-16. And thus pricing really matters. It’s extremely large number of not connected population and extremely price sensitive market. Here people typically pay little over 1000Rs /$16 a month for broadband in metros & large cities and little less than that in smaller cities. Providers in Western countries charge typically 4-5x of that and much more once bundled with digital cable TV. Some of the players who did large scale DOCSIS setup in recent times mostly are MSOs and come from the cable TV world.

2. DEN cable  - AS45184
5. Ortel - AS23772

and more! One thing is common across these players is good plans. Reliability does vary but is decent enough for the most part except few exceptions. Also, a large number of these players do CGNAT, and I am not aware of anyone of them giving IPv6 to end users as yet. :(

#### A quick view on plans

Hathway plans in Delhi

If you are thinking this kind of plans where 50Mbps is being offered for 1200Rs /  \$18 exist only Delhi, let me share some of the plans from smaller cities.