Comcast Touts Wi-Fi Gateway Edge

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Comcast claims it’s now deploying fastest in-home Wi-Fi service in the U.S. -- to serve users’ growing appetite for more tablets, smartphones, smart TVs and other IP devices -- with a gateway supplied by Technicolor that outperforms wireless gateways from AT&T and Verizon Communications.

However, even the faster gateway won't be able to keep up with Comcast's top broadband tier: the pricey 305 Megabit per second downstream Extreme 305 service, which is now available across the operator's Northeast footprint.

The MSO cited a recent competitive analysis conducted by Allion Test Labs, which found the new Xfinity Wireless Gateway provided about 155 Megabits per second, besting the telcos’ offerings.

Comcast’s selection of Technicolor as a supplier of Wi-Fi gateways could potentially cut revenue by $100 million for Arris, which has been the MSO’s primary wireless gateway vendor, Jefferies & Co. analyst James Kisner wrote in a research note Wednesday.

“Our discussions with industry contacts had previously suggested that Arris was nearly sole-sourced for Wi-Fi [embedded multimedia terminal adapters] within Comcast,” Kisner wrote. “Our checks suggest Arris will likely maintain a majority share (perhaps 70%+) of Wi-Fi capable EMTA shipments,” but he added that Technicolor's product may be better suited for larger homes while Arris provides superior voice technology.

For Arris’s fiscal year 2013, Kisner now expects revenue of about $1.38 billion and earnings per share of $1.00, versus $1.49 billion and $1.10 previously.  

In addition, Comcast said it is expanding the Extreme 305 broadband service -- providing up to 305 Mbps downstream and up to 65 Mbps upstream -- throughout most major markets in its Northeast division. The service is priced at $299.95 as a standalone service.

“Extreme 305 reaffirms our commitment to being the fastest Internet service provider in the nation,” Cathy Avgiris, executive vice president and general manager of data and communications services at Comcast, said in a statement. “With our latest Xfinity Wireless Gateway, we’re also delivering the fastest in-home Wi-Fi experience to power our customers’ growing number of connected devices.”

The Extreme 305 package is available in markets including Boston, Hartford, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Wilmington, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Richmond and New Jersey.