Wideband by the Pound

2:25 PM -- As expected, Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) has unleashed a 50 Mbit/s cable modem service fueled by Docsis 3.0, a CableLabs platform that uses channel bonding techniques to beef up shared broadband speeds. (See Virgin Media Readies 50 Mbit/s Service and Virgin Launches Ultrafast.)

The new wideband tier sells for ₤51 (US$77.91) per month by itself, or ₤35 ($53.47) if it’s bundled in with the operator’s phone service. Those who sign up get that snazzy, black cable modem the blogosphere has been buzzing about for weeks, as well as an 802.11n wireless router.

Virgin Media says about 40 percent of its footprint, including plant serving portions of Scotland, the Midlands, and South London, will be covered with wideband by the end of 2008. The MSO expects to deploy Docsis 3.0 to the rest of its 12.6 million homes passed by the summer of 2009.

In contrast, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) just got done putting wideband services in front of about 10 million residences and businesses, or roughly 20 percent of its U.S. cable footprint. It expects to complete the job by the end of 2010. (See Comcast Wraps Up '08 Wideband Rollout .)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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