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Comcast Gets Bizzy With 100-Meg Tier

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) has rolled out a new business-class Internet tier in Minneapolis and St. Paul that pumps out downstream speeds of 100 Mbit/s and upstreams of 15 Mbit/s, and costs $369.95 per month.

Targeted at the slower and typically more expensive T1 market, Comcast's new service doubles the downstream speed of the MSO's current Docsis 3.0 offerings for both residential and business service customers. Comcast, led by a 50-Mbit/s downstream by 10-Mbit/s upstream "Extreme 50" residential tier, expects to have Docsis 3.0 deployed on 80 percent of its network by year's end, and in all its systems by the end of 2010. (See Comcast Speeds Up '09 Wideband Goal .)

Its more widely offered 50-Mbit/s commercial tier sells for about $190 per month. That tier and the newer 100-Mbit/s offering both come bundled with Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s Communication Service (SharePoint and Outlook) and the McAfee Inc. (NYSE: MFE) PC Security Suite, which, Comcast claims, carry a combined retail value of roughly $780.

Comcast picked The Twin Cities for its first-ever wideband launch last April, and the same cable system is now the MSO's first to crack the 100-Mbit/s mark. (See Comcast Enters the Wideband Era .) Other Comcast systems with wideband already enabled include Chicago; New Hampshire; Hartford, Conn.; Philadelphia; New Jersey; Atlanta; Baltimore; Seattle and Spokane, Wash.; and Pittsburgh, among others.

Comcast has not specified when it will offer 100-meg speeds in other cities, but the MSO expects to introduce it "market-by-market just as we did with Extreme 50," spokesman Charlie Douglas noted via email.

As that happens, Comcast will use the speedier tier to help fuel its budding commercial services division, which targets small- and mid-sized businesses and brought in revenues of $198 million in the second quarter, up 51 percent year-over-year.

For now, Comcast has not said if and when it will introduce a 100-Mbit/s residential offering. Rumors that Comcast was readying its first 100-meg service surfaced in late May. (See Comcast Lighting Up 100 Mbit/s?)

In April, Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) became the first U.S. MSO to launch a 100-Mbit/s broadband service using Docsis 3.0. Shaw Communications Inc. of Canada was the first to hit that mark among North American cable operators. Across the pond, Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) is already running tech trials on a 200-Mbit/s (downstream) wideband offering using EuroDocsis and 8 MHz-wide channels (North American Docsis uses 6 MHz channels). (See Cablevision Debuts 101-Mbit/s Wideband Service, Shaw Breaks 100-Meg Barrier, and Virgin Bonds With 200 Mbit/s Trial .)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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Jeff Baumgartner
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:56:52 PM
re: Comcast Gets Bizzy With 100-Meg Tier

I realize that Comcast is trying to liken this tier to T1 offerings, claiming that the new 100-meg D3 service offers more for less than a typical T1, but does anyone find almost $370 per month to be a bit pricey even with the business software bundles? 

User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:56:50 PM
re: Comcast Gets Bizzy With 100-Meg Tier

Depend on the size of the business,it may be.Businesses that are engaged in extensive file transfers,teleconferencing,ect,would certainly benefit from that kind of throughput.

However,they may not be getting that bandwidth or even close when you consider TCP/IP payload.They may see 60-70 mbps download,and possibly that 15mbps upload.

Factor in traffic congestion and other prioritized packet data like voice going through Comcast pipe,it may very well be they would be paying a lot for an inconsistent throughput.

Jeff Baumgartner
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:56:48 PM
re: Comcast Gets Bizzy With 100-Meg Tier

Interesting that you bring up teleconferencing among your examples. It's one that Kevin O'Toole, Veep of product management & strategy for the Comcast biz unit, points out over at the Comcast Voices blog.  Then again, even he admits that no one really knows everything about what business customers intend to do with a 100 Mbit/s (shared) downstream, so he's asking for suggestions.   But he does put software as a servce and collaborative web-based apps among his other anticipated examples.

I forgot to ask Comcast this earlier, but I'm curious to confirm which vendor(s) are supplying the MSO with the biz-class modem that will make the 100-meg service go. I'm guessing it's SMC Networks, though I'll admit we've come across a hint or two that suggest that already.


User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:56:44 PM
re: Comcast Gets Bizzy With 100-Meg Tier

Well Jeff,

there are a plethora of vendors out there vying for that coveted prize,but I would hazard a guess that it may be Motorola,with Arris coming in second.In think in most head-ends,the CMTS is from Arris,90% of the eMTAs are made by them,so it stand to reason that they they will supply those modems as well.However,all DOCIS 3.0 modem has the capability anyway.It is the gear in the head-end that make the difference along with channel bonding.

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