Comcast Wideband Hits Northwest


Comcast is ready to roll its DSL-obliterating broadband artillery into the Pacific Northwest.

The MSO plans to launch wideband cable modem service — delivering downloads up to 50 Megabits per second — throughout its Washington State and Oregon footprint beginning in December.

The service will be available to subscribers in cities including Seattle and Spokane, Wash.; Portland, Ore.; and Eugene, Ore. Comcast serves about 1.2 million video subscribers in Washington and 600,000 in Oregon.

Last month, Comcast launched wideband service in New England, including the Boston metropolitan region and southern New Hampshire, and the greater Philadelphia metropolitan region. The company first deployed DOCSIS 3.0 commercially in Minneapolis/St. Paul in April.

Comcast has said it plans to roll out DOCSIS 3.0 services, available in 22- and 50-Mbps downstream tiers, to 10 million premises in at least 10 markets over the next few months.

In the Pacific Northwest, Comcast will primarily compete with digital subscriber line services from Qwest Communications International (which advertises download speeds up to 12 Mbps) and Verizon Communications (up to 7.1 Mbps).

The wideband play is also designed to neutralize Verizon’s FiOS Internet. The telco offers FiOS Internet with up to 50-Mbps download speeds in the Portland market and in areas of Washington, primarily suburbs north of Seattle, including Kirkland and Redmond. The telco expects to reach more than 270,000 households and small businesses in Oregon with the fiber-to-the-premises network by the end of 2008.

Comcast’s residential pricing for the two wideband tiers in Washington and Oregon is the same as in the previous markets. Extreme 50, offering up to 50 Mbps downstream and up to 10 Mbps upstream, is $139.95 per month with cable TV service; Ultra, up to 22 down and 5 Mbps up, is $62.95 per month with cable TV service.

In addition to the new wideband tiers, Comcast will increase speeds for most existing customers. The “Performance” tier will double downstream and upstream speeds, offering up to 12 Mbps and 2 Mbps respectively. “Performance Plus” customers will be upgraded to Comcast’s Blast! tier, which will double download speeds to up to 16 Mbps and provide up to 2 Mbps of upload speed.