This is such a big change, I see them calling it DOCSIS 4.0 when the final adopted standard comes out. The DOCSIS 3.0 name is almost as bad as Windows Vista. Lots of hype and plenty of real world failure, especially in upstream. I see CableLabs wanting to move on from that mess, similar to MS wanting to get away from Vista. Or Chevrolet from the Vega. Or Ford from the Pinto.
As far as using the technology for just adding more users per node, instead of higher speed tiers, I do not see that. I think you will see the elimination of the really low tiers that are only there to compete with ADSL2+. It is silly to see Cox have a 1Mbps down/0.3Mbps up tier in a DOCSIS 3.0 world. It will be even sillier when this new technology is deployed. Offering 24Mbps down/4Mbps up as the bottom tier would be a great way for the cable companies to differentiate themselves from the ADSL2+ telephone companies. They should charge the same constant dollar amount for that service as they do for the 1/0.3 service of today. Just blast the telephone companies with a real value proposition to potential or existing cable HSI subscribers.
Caps will probably increase. I think Comcast and others are going to go the way Cox does. Different caps based on the speed tier you pay for. Plus possibly a standardized overage charge per GB, no matter what tier you subscribe to. The cable companies like the cap clauses. It gives them a relatively easy way to get rid of customers whose activities they may not like. It can be enforced through automatic throttling to dial-up speeds, very large overage charges, or shutting off service.
I agree, this is a first step D4 will probably be the 2 way full speed over Epon EpoC epcot(well it was pretty advanced when it opened ) with legacy QAM and narrowband gone.
whatever beats this for less.
Currently they are aiming at a first, expandable, step that can take over and increase upstream.
as seen no this should be more efficient use of bandwidth then greater then 8 downstream channels per node, and 1/2 the power and cooling at the CMTS.
And it echo on down the line.