Mediacom to Wear Speed King Crown

Mediacom Communications Corp. is poised to become the U.S. cable speed king with the expected launch of a Docsis 3.0-enabled 105-Mbit/s broadband service in Waterloo, Iowa.

Mediacom hasn't officially announced the service, but the company is starting to spread the word on the local level, telling the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier that it has selected the town as a "showcase" for a new broadband tier called "Ultra 105" that will provide burst speeds of 105 Mbit/s downstream and 10 Mbit/s upstream.

The Waterloo launch will place Mediacom, which currently offers a maximum downstream speed of 20 Mbit/s, on top of the U.S. cable speed heap.

Cablevision presently offers a 101-Mbit/s tier, presently the fastest residential Docsis 3.0 tier offered in the U.S. Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), meanwhile, has introduced a 100-Mbit/s wideband tier for small- and mid-sized business customers in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., and is expected to introduce it in additional markets soon. (See Cablevision Debuts 101-Mbit/s Wideband Service and Comcast Gets Bizzy With 100-Meg Tier .)

Mediacom, which tangles with Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) in Waterloo, has not set pricing on the new service, but the MSO anticipates launching the new residential high-speed Internet service by late December.

News of the Waterloo launch comes after Mediacom, which ended September with 1.26 million basic video subs and 765,000 high-speed Internet customers, revealed some of its initial Docsis 3.0 plans during the company's third-quarter earnings call in early November. (See Mediacom Posts Q3.)

The MSO, which competes with Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) (FiOS) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), as well as Qwest (depending on the market), said it expects to have half its network footprint Docsis 3.0-ready by the end of 2009, but that it will launch wideband services in only half of that area by the end of 2009. (See Mediacom Preps 100-Meg D3 .)

By the end of this year it expects to have launched its new wideband services in 11 markets, two of which will offer a 100-Mbit/s-plus service, whilst the other nine will offer maximum downstream broadband speeds of 50 Mbit/s.

The remaining Docsis 3.0-enabled markets would launch the wideband services some time in 2010.

Mediacom is not commenting on which markets, other than Waterloo, will get its fastest services first. However, its largest, and therefore prime-candidate, markets for its early wideband push include: Cedar Rapids and Des Moines, Iowa; Columbia and Springfield, Mo.; and the Quad Cities region (Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa, and Moline and Rock Island in Illinois).

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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