Comcast: Wideband Build Is Nearly Half Done

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) said it's nearly halfway done with its national rollout of Docsis 3.0 after completing a deployment in its hometown of Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs.

As it's done in its other wideband markets, Comcast is kicking things off with a tier that offers shared speeds of 50 Mbit/s downstream and 10 Mbit/s upstream. Comcast was rumored to be gearing up for a 100 Mbit/s tier, but nothing's been announced. (See Comcast Lighting Up 100 Mbit/s?)

The Philly buildout -- including what Comcast calls its Freedom Region: the counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery, as well as southern N.J. and northern Delaware -- will help Comcast shore up for competition with Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and cable overbuilder RCN Corp. . (See Comcast Brings Wideband to Philly.)

Matt Stump, VP of industry intelligence at One Touch Intelligence , estimates that Verizon's FiOS Internet services pass about 1 million homes in the Philly area. Comcast also comes up against FiOS in parts of N.J. and Delaware.

RCN, meanwhile, had threatened to get Docsis 3.0 services off the ground by the end of the second quarter [ed. note: tick-tock, tick-tock] and is expected to start off with a tier that matches Comcast's 50 Mbit/s downstream. But RCN has also chatted up the idea of delivering even faster speeds with Docsis 3.0, something it will need to do to hang with the 101-Mbit/s service New York-based Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) is offering. (See Cablevision Debuts 101-Mbit/s Wideband Service and RCN: Wideband in Q2 .)

Comcast, which claims to have wideband in front of roughly 25 million homes and businesses, still expects to complete its Docsis 3.0 deployment by the end of 2010.

Wideband isn't just for 50-Mbit/s supersubscribers. Comcast is also boosting its single-channel Docsis services in those markets. Its "Performance" tier, for example, doubles to 12 Mbit/s down by 2 Mbit/s up. And "Performance Plus" subscribers are being automatically upgraded to Blast!, a tier that boasts a 16 Mbit/s downstream.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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