Comcast appears to be matching up with the latest speeds offered by Verizon FiOS with an upgrade for a fiber-fed residential “Extreme” broadband tier that bumps max speeds to 505 Megabits per second downstream and 100 Mbps upstream.
A Comcast customer who is apparently based in Washington, D.C., noted on the DSL Reports message board that the operator recently issued an alert about the speed upgrade and posted the results of two speed tests showing downstream speeds in excess of 500 Mbps and uploads of more than 100 Mbps. Comcast spokesman Charlie Douglas confirmed the speed upgrade on Tuesday.
Borrowing technology used for its business-class Internet service, Comcast is using a fiber-to-the-premises-based platform to support its new, speedy residential tier, which originally topped out at 305 Mbit/s down by 65 Mbps upstream for $299.95 per month.
Comcast said it is not increasing the price alongside the speed bump. For now, Comcast is limiting access to the service, now called Extreme 505, to markets in its Northeast region, which includes Washington, D.C., and cities such as Philadelphia, Boston, Hartford, Baltimore, and Richmond, Va.
Comcast has not announced plans to expand to its other regions or said how customers are subscribing to its all-fiber residential Internet service. “We’ll assess customer interest in it” before determining whether Comcast will expand the offering to other markets, Douglas said.
Comcast’s speed upgrade comes into play almost two months after Verizon FiOS Internet introduced a 500 Mbps down by 100 Mbps up service that sells for $299.99 per month as a stand-alone service, and at various other price points when paired with the telco’s voice and video offerings. Verizon’s new 500-Meg offering, available on plant that supports GPON technology, will be offered to at least 70% of the FiOS Internet customer base by the end of 2014. FiOS’s current footprint passes about18 million homes in 12 states, plus Washington, D.C.
Comcast’s current top-end DOCSIS 3.0-based high-speed Internet service offers 105 Mbps down and 20 Mbps up.
The latest generation of DOCSIS 3.0 cable modems can bond 24 downstream channels – enough to hit speed bursts of about 1 Gbps. Broadcom has developed a D3 chip that can bond 32 downstream channels. Com Hem of Sweden is using a D3 gateway that can bond up to 16 downstream channels to fuel a new 500-Meg service.
CableLabs is also working on DOCSIS 3.1, a new set of specs targeting capacities of up to 10 Gbps down and 2 Gbps downstream.