Insight Nudges Speed Needle

12:45 PM -- Insight Communications Co. Inc. isn't formally joining the Docsis 3.0 club yet, but it has put plans in place to push out a new cable modem tier that pumps out a shared 30 Mbit/s downstream and 3 Mbit/s upstream.

That's according to Insight CEO Michael Willner, who posted some details about the coming launch.

Insight hasn't disclosed pricing on the new tier, dubbed Broadband 30.0, though the MSO does intend to bundle it with the ESPN360 broadband-based sports service and an Internet security suite from CA Technologies (Nasdaq: CA). Insight's next fastest cable modem tier, Broadband 20.0, offers a 20 Mbit/s downstream.

Willner has hinted several times that Docsis 3.0 is on the MSO's agenda, but the company still hasn't revealed an expected launch date. Based on Willner's latest comments, we might see a wideband launch from Insight in 2010. But it's coming.

"Our Broadband 30.0 service will be our last speed upgrade prior to launching Docsis 3.0," Willner notes. "We already have been working diligently to prepare for the launch of the newest Docsis platform, now that we are completely comfortable that the new technology is scalable and reliable -- two critical tests before we launch any new product."

In the meantime, the 30meg tier "will bridge us very effectively to the time we launch Docsis 3.0," Willner adds.

Insight also hasn't said where it will offer wideband first. But it's clear which cities are candidates for Insight's virgin wideband launch. Insight sold off a chunk of its properties in the Midwest to Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) in early 2008, but still operates systems passing about 1.3 million homes in Kentucky (Louisville, Lexington, Bowling Green, and Covington); Evansville, Ind.; and Columbus, Ohio. (See Comcast, Insight Close Deal.)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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