& cplSiteName &

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        ADD A COMMENT
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.

From The Founder
The independent evaluation of Nokia's key virtual network functions (VNFs) was a defining moment for the Finnish giant.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP’s Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it’s going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Innovations in Cable

5|26|16   |   03:18   |   (0) comments


Marc Aldrich from Cisco discusses the latest in security, the evolution and momentum for CCAP and what the industry will be seeing next from Cisco.
LRTV Documentaries
Leading Lights 2016 Highlights

5|25|16   |   02:26   |   (1) comment


Some of the high points from this year's Leading Lights awards dinner at the Hotel Ella in Austin, Texas.
LRTV Documentaries
Light Reading Hall of Fame 2016

5|23|16   |   05:43   |   (0) comments


Find out who has been welcomed into Light Reading's Hall of Fame this year.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE TM Forum Highlights

5|23|16   |     |   (0) comments


ZTE showcased its new ICT solutions at TM Forum in Nice.
LRTV Interviews
Gamma's MD on the Emergence of UC2

5|20|16   |     |   (0) comments


Gamma Communications Managing Director David Macfarlane believes the unified communications (UC) market has reached a tipping point.
LRTV Custom TV
The Ultimate 5-Minute Guide to Digital Customer Engagement

5|20|16   |     |   (0) comments


In this short video, you will hear all about how Digital Customer Engagement is the key to meeting customer expectations, keeping them happy, and maximizing revenue. VP Product & Marketing at Pontis, Ofer Razon, breaks down for us the five essential capabilities for successful Digital Customer Engagement. Don’t miss!
LRTV Custom TV
NFV in 2016: Part 1 – NFV Use Cases Get Real

5|19|16   |   05:57   |   (0) comments


Consensus is building around the key use cases for NFV, including managed IP services at the network edge and on customer premises, which can generate new revenues from enterprises/SMBs and consumers; Evolved Packet Core to support LTE migration; and adjacent technologies, such as TAS and IMS, to support VoLTE and next-generation charging and policy control ...
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's Steve Vogelsang on NFV – Part 3

5|19|16   |     |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang discusses the challenges of operational transformation and how Nokia helps its customers. Join Steve at the Big Communications Event in Austin the morning of May 24, on his keynote and optical networking panel.
LRTV Interviews
Level 3: Why UC Is In Demand

5|17|16   |   04:12   |   (1) comment


Andrew Edison, Level 3's senior VP of sales, EMEA region, talks about the drivers of growth in the unified communications services market.
LRTV Custom TV
ARM's OPNFV Action

5|17|16   |     |   (0) comments


At the ARM booth at MWC 2016, Joe Kidder and Bob Monkman speak to Light Reading about OPNFV and their upcoming action.
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's Steve Vogelsang on NFV – Part 2

5|16|16   |     |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang gives advice to service providers on how to move to NFV. Join Steve at the Big Communications Event in Austin the morning of May 24, on his keynote and optical networking panel.
LRTV Interviews
Interoute CTO on NFV's Maturity

5|13|16   |   06:46   |   (1) comment


Matt Finnie, CTO at international operator Interoute, explains how NFV has made life easier in terms of logistics and how Interoute can now enable a 'software-defined moment' for its customers.
Upcoming Live Events
September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
December 6-8, 2016,
June 16-18, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
A new survey conducted by Heavy Reading and TM Forum shows that CSPs around the world see the move to digital operations as a necessary part of their overall virtualization strategies.
Hot Topics
DT: Telcos Must Escape Vendor Prison
Iain Morris, News Editor, 5/24/2016
AT&T to Start 5G 'Friendly' Trial by 2016 End
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/24/2016
Cisco's Patel Hails 'Microculture' Successes
Iain Morris, News Editor, 5/26/2016
Cable Is Eyeing Its Retail Options
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/25/2016
AT&T's Margaret Chiosi Retires
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 5/25/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
In this latest installment of the CEO Chat series, Craig Labovitz, co-founder and CEO of Deepfield, sits down with Light Reading's Steve Saunders in Light Reading's New York City office to discuss how Deepfield fits in with the big data trend and more.
Grant van Rooyen, president and CEO of Cologix, sits down with Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, in the vendor's New Jersey facility to offer an inside look at the company's success story and discuss the importance of security in the telecom industry.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Our world has evolved through innovation from the Industrial Revolution of the 1740s to the information age, and it is now entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution, driven by technology. Technology is driving a paradigm shift in the way digital solutions deliver a connected world, changing the way we live, communicate and provide solutions. It can have a powerful impact on how we tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. In this radio show, Caroline Dowling, President of Communications Infrastructure & Enterprise Computing at Flex, will join Women in Comms Director Sarah Thomas to discuss the impact technology has on society and how it can be a game-changer across the globe; improving lives and creating a smarter world. Dowling, a Cork, Ireland, native and graduate of Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program, will also discuss her experience managing an international team focused on innovation in an age of high-speed change.