CableLabs announced today that the Data-Over-Cable Service Interface Specifications (DOCSIS) 3.0 has been drafted. The new standard will allow cable operators to more efficiently use their frequency and offer speeds as high as 160Mbps downstream and 120Mbps upstream. Whether or not we get speeds 10 times higher than cable modems and DSL currently offer anytime soon, the new standard will also allow operators to use their bandwidth for stuff we will definitely enjoy, like more HDTV channels and VOD.

Unfortunately because of the major hardware changes required, we probably won't see this rolled out until at least 2008, so cable companies may use pre-3.0 equipment to roll out higher speeds and features to compete with fiber and satellite television offerings. It's worth mentioning that this also affects Blu-ray and HD DVD, if neither is able to make significant impact on the market consumers may be able to download high definition movies just as easily as buying them in a store in just a few years.

[Via Cable Digital News]

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