Comcast Gets Bizzy With 100-Meg Tier
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