Comcast has gunned the DOCSIS 3.0 engine —
hoping to turn heads with a nationwide rollout of one of the
fastest residential-broadband offerings in the U.S.
The cable operator’s Extreme 105 service, with download
speeds of up to 105 Megabits per second and uploads of 10
Mbps, is now available to 40 million households, or approximately
80% of the operator’s footprint.
The 40 million households that can get Extreme 105 are up
from about 25 million at the end of September 2010. Since softlaunching
it last summer, Comcast has not actively marketed
the 105-Megabit tier, but it now touts that it is enabling the
fastest Internet access to the largest number of Americans.
The MSO’s move indicates the cable industry alone should
easily meet the Federal Communications Commission goal of
having 100-Mbps broadband available to 100 million homes
well before the agency’s 2020 target date.
But how many consumers opt for the blazing-fast Internet
speeds is another question. Currently, services exceeding 100
Mbps are in the “because we can” category, used to one-up
Comcast is positioning Extreme 105 as a fire hose to satisfy
the numerous bandwidth-thirsty Internet-connected gadgets
people now use.
“We’re powering the digital home of the future, where
entire families using multiple devices — laptops, gaming
consoles, tablets, smartphones — can all take advantage
of high-bandwidth applications simultaneously, ensuring
they each have a great online experience,” Comcast senior
vice president and general manager of communications and
data services Cathy Avgiris said.
However, telco Verizon Communications still has bragging
rights in its FiOS markets. Last fall, Verizon debuted a
FiOS Internet package that provides 150 Mbps downstream
priced at about $200 per month. Other cable-operator
services breaking the 100-Meg barrier include Cablevision
Systems and Suddenlink Communications.
Comcast is still testing out pricing for Extreme 105, initially
offering it for an introductory price of $105 per month for
12 months when bundled with cable-TV and voice services.
That makes it only $5 more than Extreme 50, at $99.95 per
month, so existing customers of the 50-Mbps tier are likely
candidates to upgrade.
Comcast’s 250 GB monthly data-usage cap applies to Extreme
105. Customers receive a warning if they exceed the
limit and repeat offenders may be disconnected.
Service: Broadband Internet with 105 Mbps
down and 10 Mbps up
Availability: About 40 million homes
Price: $105 per month for 12 months (bundled);