Light Reading
Comcast's $300 tier outpaces FiOS's fastest downstream speeds and matches its best upstream speeds in several Northeastern markets

Comcast Revs Up Pricey 305-Meg Tier

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
7/24/2012
50%
50%

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) has unleashed a new Docsis 3.0 tier that will max out at 305Mbit/s downstream and 65Mbit/s upstream and sell for $299.95 per month as the operator looks to one-up a new 300Mbit/s FiOS service that Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) launched about a month ago.

Comcast has introduced the new tier, called Xfinity Platinum Internet, in several Northeastern systems, including Boston; Hartford, Conn.; Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, Pa.; Wilmington, Del; Baltimore; Richmond, Va.; Washington; and New Jersey. In those markets, Comcast is also upping the speeds of its Blast! Tier from 25Mbit/s to 50Mbit/s; while Extreme 50 customers will now get 105Mbit/s at no extra cost. Comcast hasn't identified where the new speeds will debut next, but most of its footprint is already upgraded to Docsis 3.0. (See Comcast 'Completes' Docsis 3.0 Rollout.)

DSL Reports caught wind of the new 305-Meg tier late last week after Comcast Cable President and CEO Neil Smit brought it up during a webcast with employees.

In addition to the faster speeds, the new Platinum tier also comes with a wireless gateway, a "dedicated Personal Communications Consultant" assigned to the customer, Xfinity Signature Support (which regularly sells for $9.95 per month) and the company's Constant Guard Security suite.

Why this matters
To hit those speeds, Comcast is starting to take full advantage of Docsis 3.0 modems that can bond eight downsteam channels and four upstream channels. A new chip from Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) is capable of bonding 24 channels and eight upstream channels.

Update: Comcast confirmed that it is using fiber and its Metro Ethernet platform, not Docsis 3.0, to deliver the new 305Mbit/s tier, at least at this early stage. The MSO is content to use fiber for "ultrafast" speed tiers (those that offer more than 200 Mbit/s) while it gauges consumer demand for such residential products. Comcast, however, is using Docsis 3.0 to deliver its 105Mbit/s residential high-speed Internet service. (See Comcast, HBO Back Zeebox.)

Comcast's new tier is largely a marketing play, as it's unlikely that many of Comcast's residential customers can afford it or even need speeds that burst to 305 Mbit/s. However, Comcast, as Verizon suggested when it launched its newest tier, said the loftier speeds will come in handy as more of its customers simultaneously connect to the Internet via tablets, laptops and smartphones to do things like stream movies, upload photos and use videoconferencing apps.

Comcast's launch should also get some positive attention of regulators that are reviewing the proposed sale of wireless spectrum from four cable operators, including Comcast, to Verizon Wireless . There are some concerns that the spectrum sale and service bundling agreements between the cable ops and the wireless carrier will result in less landline broadband and video competition between the two sides. (See Verizon & Comcast Deny a TV Truce .)

For more



— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

(9)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:26:42 PM
re: Comcast Revs Up Pricey 305-Meg Tier


In markets where these tiers end up going  head to head, Verizon's 300-meg tier's undercuts Comcast's price fairly deeply  -- Verizon's is running $209.99 per month with a two-year contract or $209.99 per month without. Not that it will matter too much early on with the few people who will want and pay for these tiers, but.. JB


 


 

craigleddy
50%
50%
craigleddy,
User Rank: Blogger
12/5/2012 | 5:26:42 PM
re: Comcast Revs Up Pricey 305-Meg Tier


You're right that at this point it's more of a marketing ploy, but these Comcast systems still need to devote a sizeable amount of bandwidth to pull this off. If my math is right, it's the spectrum equivalent of about 30 HDTV channels.


So where are they coming up with the bandwidth? Is this the treasure trove that came from giving out all those small DTA boxes so they could reclaim their analog spectrum?


From small things, mama, big things one day come (Bruce Springsteen).            

Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:26:41 PM
re: Comcast Revs Up Pricey 305-Meg Tier


Also, it will be worth keeping an eye on who this tier attracts. Seems like a nice SMB play since data peak times for businesses typically don't overlap with the  peak times usually seen for residential Internet service. JB

Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:26:41 PM
re: Comcast Revs Up Pricey 305-Meg Tier


Yes, eight channels is quite a bit to put toward this new service. Since Comcast is not big on switched digital video yet to my knowledge, I imagine channels are coming way from the spectrum reclamation project with the DTAs and maybe the ability to cram more HD channels into 6MHz slots. I was a bit more surprised to see that they were able to get to 65Mbit/s in the upstream, another big indication that upstream channel bonding is finally ready to go. JB





 




Flook
50%
50%
Flook,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:26:32 PM
re: Comcast Revs Up Pricey 305-Meg Tier


305 megs v. 300 megs--no significant advantage. Or did I miss something?

Soupafly
50%
50%
Soupafly,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 5:26:27 PM
re: Comcast Revs Up Pricey 305-Meg Tier


Is this s typo by Jeff?


"Verizon's is running $209.99 per month with a two-year contract or $209.99 per month without."


Surely the variable that's not mentioned in the article, is the over-subscription level on the head-end?  The providers can offer some very fast headline speeds, but if the o/s ratio is 20:1 then your basically only guaranteed 15Mb/s.


Or am I missing something? Its been awhile since I worked on cable networks. :-)





Pete Baldwin
50%
50%
Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:26:27 PM
re: Comcast Revs Up Pricey 305-Meg Tier


Flook - You're not missing anything; there's no difference that any user would ever notice.


Actually, if I want to be a jerk about it (and apparently I do) .... the difference is that "305" will always remind you that Verizon beat Comcast to this speed grade, because Comcast had to tack on the extra "5" to make it sound like they weren't behind.

Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:26:07 PM
re: Comcast Revs Up Pricey 305-Meg Tier


Yep, the price with the two-year contract should be $204.99 per month. We'll get that fixed. JB

Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:20:19 PM
re: Comcast Revs Up Pricey 305-Meg Tier


Some confusion on my part... i originally believed that Comcast was using Docsis 3.0 for this new tier, but in fact they are using fiber and its new MetroE service early on as it tries to figure out what sort of demand there is for that product. Full story on that and why Comcast made that decision is here.

Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Interviews
From 4G to 5G: Alcatel-Lucent's Dave Geary

11|25|14   |   09:09   |   (1) comment


Dave Geary, President of Wireless at Alcatel-Lucent, talks about the evolution of the 4G market, small cells, partnerships, 5G and the IoT.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Building a Secure Telefonica Network With Huawei's High-End Firewall

11|24|14   |   4:37   |   (0) comments


Andrew Davies, IP architect of the Telefonica, a leading digital communications company, discusses the Huawei security gateway solution and putting the solution into the testbed.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Partners with Spirent to Verify CE12816's 10GE Port & TRILL Networking Capabilities

11|24|14   |   2:50   |   (0) comments


Spirent Communications is the world's leading supplier for telecom testing appliances and solutions. Spirent has been in a close partnership with Huawei for a long time.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Saudi Airlines & Its ICT Transformation

11|24|14   |   2:07   |   (0) comments


In this video, Saudi Airlines discusses its network problems and how Huawei's Agile Network is its all-in-one solution.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Agile Switch Benefiting Saudi Arabia's Yamamah Hospital

11|24|14   |   2:40   |   (0) comments


Saudi Arabia's Yamamah Hospital speaks about how Huawei's Agile Switch has improved the medical service's network infrastructure.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
FanPlay & Huawei Build a Wireless Agile Smart Stadium

11|24|14   |   2:13   |   (0) comments


FanPlay is a cloud-based white label service, which is effectively a football fan engagement platform underpinned by mobile payment technology.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Building an Agile Stadium

11|24|14   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Stadiums may be thousands of tons of concrete and steel, but they now need to be agile. Being at the stadium may not be as alluring as it once was. Sports franchises and stadium operators discuss how to get fans back.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Helps ChinaCache Tackle Challenges in the Internet Industry

11|24|14   |   3:09   |   (0) comments


ChinaCache is China's largest content distribution network supplier. Huawei's CE12800 has provided ChinaCache with very strong support in its establishment of an infrastructure network.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Cefinity on Managed Security Services & Next-Generation Firewall

11|24|14   |   7:05   |   (0) comments


Cefinity is a cloud management service provider in Southeast Asia. Ivan Zhang, CEO of the company, discusses the implementation of security service management in the cloud era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Agile Gateway in the Eyes of Cefinity

11|24|14   |   2:11   |   (0) comments


Cefinity is a managed service provider for enterprise networks. The company currently uses Huawei's AR series routers for the most complete range of functions. CEO Ivan Zhang speaks about the advantages of the AR series routers.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
CTO of Bus-Online Talks About Huawei's Agile Gateway

11|24|14   |   2:53   |   (0) comments


Bus-Online covers around 100 million users everyday. In addition to providing mobile TV, and advertising services to the public, Bus-Online has also entered the field of mobile Internet.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Amsterdam ArenA as an Agile Campus

11|24|14   |   3:31   |   (0) comments


The Amsterdam ArenA, home of the Ajax soccer team, can be a crowded space. ArenA has partnered with Huawei to work on bringing ample bandwidth to 53,000 people at the same time.
Upcoming Live Events
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 8-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
February 10, 2015, Atlanta, GA
April 14, 2015, New York City, NY
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
Irish Telecom outlines the rise of VoIP technology, including its adoption within businesses and their perception of its quality.
Hot Topics
Bell Labs Chief Slams 'Toy' Networks
Robert Clark, 11/19/2014
$38.3M: Ain't That a Kik in the SMS
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 11/20/2014
Do You Have a 2020 Vision?
Dennis Mendyk, Vice President of Research, Heavy Reading, 11/21/2014
Operators Should Block Ads to Get Their Cut, Startup Says
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 11/24/2014
$35B+ Spectrum Auction Dings Verizon, Shines Dish
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/24/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed