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Summary:

Comcast, the largest cable company in the US announced today that it is going to start selling a 50 megabits per second (down) connection in Minnesota’s Twin Cities region. The connection with 5 megabits/second upstream capability is based on DOCSIS 3.0 technology and will cost $150 […]

Comcast, the largest cable company in the US announced today that it is going to start selling a 50 megabits per second (down) connection in Minnesota’s Twin Cities region. The connection with 5 megabits/second upstream capability is based on DOCSIS 3.0 technology and will cost $150 a month. Cablevision, Surewest and Verizon have been offering similar high-speed yet very expensive connections for a while now.

The so-called Wideband connection is getting a lot of attention today, though the service is unavailable in larger Comcast markets like San Francisco, where 16 Mbps is as fast as you can go. Comcast promises that it will make Wideband available in 20% of the market it serves by 2009 and rest of the country in 2010. Talk is cheap! Since we are still waiting for TiVo on Comcast and instead suffering through a painful DVR experience, I am not holding my breath about WideBand showing up on my doorstep anytime soon.

Just a random observation: these expensive Wideband connections are attractive for a demographic that Comcast may label “bandwidth hogs” who might see their connections throttled.

  1. For $150 per month I would expect more upload capacity than 5MB/sec upstream

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  2. broadband_fan Thursday, April 3, 2008

    I’m sure this price point was well thought out. They are not looking to attract large penetration volumes at this price. They know that only that a samll fraction of subscribers will bite at this price. They know this and planned for it.

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  3. I’m not sure that I’d call Verizon FIOS very expensive, at least not by US standards. In the Scandinavian and Nordic countries you can get full 10mbit and 100mbit connections from your ISP, often for as little as ~$40 USD for 100mbit.

    FIOS Pricing
    Annual Plans:
    5/2: $43/mo
    15/2: $53/mo
    15/15: $65/mo
    30/15: $140/mo

    Month-to-Month:
    5/2: $51/mo
    15/2: $61/mo
    15/15: $73/mo
    30/15: $160/mo

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  4. How does this compare to other offers in that area – and to what packages are on FiOS?

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  5. [...] Several web sites are reporting on this today and I will list the links below.  Would you be willing to pay $150 a month for Internet access at those speeds?  I like a fast Internet connection myself, but not sure I’d want to fork over $150 a month to have those speeds.  According to Om Malik at GigaOm, Comcast promises that it will make this Wideband available in 20% of their market by 2009. [...]

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  6. In some parts of Quebec you can now get 50 mbps down/1 mbps up for $80/month.

    Details here.

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  7. At least we know now that Comcast’s deal with BitTorrent wasn’t just fluff. They did promise to start rolling-out DOCSIS 3.0 and now they have.

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  8. Om

    DOCSIS 3.0, as we’ve both been saying, is that good. I predict 50 meg both upstream and down, 95+% of the time. DOCSIS 3.0 is 4-12 times faster than what Comcast has today, making it far easier to handle whatever bandwidth customers demand. It’s also really cheap – Comcast estimates that 100 meg in DOCSIS 3.0 will cost them about the same as 6 meg in the current system. So Comcast can sell it at $30-$50/month and see 60-80% margins, better than their TV service. That’s already the price at Numericable in France, which throws in free phone service across the country.

    The bandwidth will make it harder to breach net neutrality, especially as 3.0 is designed to speed up three more times, up to a gig when needed. On any decent network, that will handle likely demand until 2015-2017. That’s great news. Comcast is smart to discourage customers with a high price until the bugs are out, then bring it down. If the U.S. had 4 strong competitors, like France, the 50 meg price would drop 70% over the next two years. That should include 50 meg upstream as well, which should be part of the package in 2009. (The upstream bonding is already at CableLabs for certification.)

    Which leads to my conclusion that the next battle will be to get a fair price and availability for all. 80% of North America is served by other cablecos, nearly all moving more slowly than Comcast. The gear is new and guaranteed to have problems at the beginning, so most will let others solve the inevitable bugs. 96% of the U.S. can get cable, and there is no technical reason not to offer it to almost all of them in the next 2-4 years.

    Let’s make it so. It will change the Internet. db

    Brian Roberts dropped the bomb: 50 megabit DOCSIS 3.0 to 20 million homes in two years, upstream as well as down. Bravo to him for building a better network. The price is temporarily high ($150), but the marginal cost per home per month is about $10-12, virtually the same as today’s cable modems.

    Randall at AT&T should be having nightmares. DOCSIS 3.0 real speed is 4 to 50 times as fast as any service they have for the better part of a decade. Their top tech people pointed out in 2004 that U-Verse was a big gamble, because it is far behind what DOCSIS 3.0 will deliver.

    Numericable has passed two million French homes.in the major cities, and Videotron is taking the battle to Bell Canada.

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  9. John Thacker Friday, April 4, 2008

    Corey Gillmore–

    As many people post every time Om or someone posts about FIOS pricing, in northern Virginia I have 30 down, 5 up from FIOS for $60/month. Verizon’s pricing scheme is very different in different areas, entirely dependent on competition. The prices that they list on their website are the max prices for anywhere in the country, but in local areas, especially those with more competition, FIOS is offered with more throughput and for less cost.

    In several places the 50/5 plan is $60/month.

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  10. VTFootballGrad Friday, April 4, 2008

    Fios is about the same as the $hitty broadband service that Comcast offers. I’d pay the extra few bucks for Verizon right now. Comcast is the king of suck.

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