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Developed by CableLabs and approved by the ITU in March 1998, Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification defines interface standards for cable modems and supporting equipment.

With certification from CableLabs, manufacturers will be able to produce cable modems for retail, so consumers no longer have to depend on leased cable modems from their cable providers.

Other devices that recognize and support the DOCSIS standard include HDTVs and Web enabled set-top boxes for regular televisions.

DOCSIS specifies downstream traffic transfer rates between 27 and 36 Mbps over a radio frequency (RF) path in the 50 MHz to 750+ MHz range, and upstream traffic tranfer rates between 320 Kbps and 10 Mbps over a RF path between 5 and 42 MHz. But, because data over cable travels on a shared loop, individuals will see tranfer rates drop as more users gain access.

In 1998, there were 1.2 million cable modems installed across the United States with an average price of $245 per unit, and by 2004, research reports predict there will be 24.3 million units installed across the US with an average price of $50 per unit.

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