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Finally, 100 Mbps Everywhere (If You Have Comcast)

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It has been a long time coming, but now an average broadband subscriber in the U.S. can sign-up for a 100 Mbps broadband connection. Comcast (s cmcsa), the largest cable (and broadband) company said Thursday it’s launching Extreme 105 across its entire footprint, which covers 40 million homes in cities such as San Francisco, Seattle; Chicago; Miami; Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia; and the majority of Boston.

To be sure, companies such as Cablevision (s CVC) provide 100 Mbps connections in its region (New York), but Comcast is making it available at a national level. Forecasts have indicated we could have 100 million homes with 100 Mbps by 2015, and with Thursday’s news, we’re pretty close to that target now. That should make the FCC pretty happy.

Now, it’s not cheap: about $105 a month for the broadband connection if you sign up for a triple-play plan, where other services cost extra.  The standalone price is pretty darn steep — $199 a month — which I think is a shame. Comcast should have sold this at a more affordable price. I was paying about $150 a month for a 50 Mbps business connection about a year ago. I signed up for that instead of $80 a month for 50 Mbps residential connection mostly because I didn’t want to face any “bandwidth caps.” A Comcast spokesperson says that the 250 GB cap applies to this super-fast broadband connection as well.

Based on the DOCSIS 3.0 technology, Comcast says you can download an HD movie in five minutes seconds with this speed, or a full album in 3 seconds, but that’s assuming the network performs at an optimum level. I think downloading files is the wrong way to look at what these speeds can do. I currently live in a building with a 100 Mbps connection, and as a result, I’ve slowly but surely switched away from downloads of digital content to more stream-oriented consumption. (Related: Forget P2P, Porn. ISPs Hate Netflix.)

Netflix (S NFLX), Hulu, AppleTV, (S AAPL) Spotify and Pandora make up most of my digital content diet. When it comes to work, it’s now all in the “cloud” via Google Docs and Gmail (S GOOG). With higher bandwidth, the experience of all these services has improved for me. With Comcast making the higher speeds available nationwide, the upside is going to be for all these streaming services.I predict they will see a big bump in usage.

12 Responses to “Finally, 100 Mbps Everywhere (If You Have Comcast)”

  1. This is America. Some portion of the population will always buy the latest, greatest, biggest, fastest newest thing. By initialy charging more than most people will pay, they hook these people into contacts at a very profitable price point. 6 months later, they drop the price to a more reasonable, yet still very profitable price point and another group will buy in because they percieve this as a “deal”. Finally (often years later) the service is offered at a cost + reasonable profit. The alternative? Unless the government takes over as your ISP, capitalism dictates that your provider put more effort into squeezing more profit from being as good as the alternative on the old hardware and wiring they’ve already paid for than investing in a breakthough that would change way Americans work and play online. As a Comcast shareholder, I respect that. As a Comcast customer, I hate it.

  2. Ih8Comcast

    Comcast, Comcast, Comcast… when will you learn?

    I currently have your 12mbit service. I used to have 16 or 20, I forget which. I downgraded. Why? Because anything 6mbit or greater is just dandy for browsing and most everyday usage. Super high speed is really awesome but what is the point when I’m going to hit my monthly cap on the 4th of the month? The 250gb cap is crazy and until you remove it, nobody will buy your idiot-priced 100mbit. In fact I may switch down to 6mbit from 12. I already have to monitor my usage closely to not go over 250gigs/month. I would be more excited if they announced offering 5mbit for $20/month than 100mbit for $100

  3. CNN did a thing on this during the morning show. The best part was the woman saying, “the funny thing is that this is still not nearly as fast as verizon fios” and that they are just catching up to the rest.

  4. Andreas

    The price of Comcasts internet offer is about 5 times more expensive than what the same connection costs in Sweden. And the companies offering those speeds in Sweden are profitable. And there are no caps on usage.

    It must be wonderful to be an ISP in the US.

  5. ninjashrimp

    I call Bull$#!^ on the transfer speed for an HD movie in 5 seconds! At maximum speed, which you’ll never achieve on a 100megabit connection, the only HD movie you could download in 5 seconds would have to be about 3 Minutes long @720p resolution (lowest resolution considered to be HD). I don’t know many movies that short.

    Simple math:
    100 Megabits = 12.5 Megabytes
    Average HD movie (with high compression) = 4 to 6 Gigabytes.
    Average HD movie transfer speed time = 5 1/3 to 8 Minutes
    Smallest HD movie (with super high compression) = 2Gb
    Smallest HD movie transfer speed time = 2 2/3 Minutes
    **These are the maximum possible speeds on 100mbit. Real world…I wouldn’t expect more than 50%-75% of 100mbit during peek speeds, with the average probably much lower.

    Maybe my file sizes aren’t accurate. I am not sure what type of file they are referring to as an HD Movie.

  6. max_pain

    100Mbps is a wow factor? Comcast is capping our usage per month.
    I assumed whoever wrote this never been to overseas. For example, Singapore, they already have 100Mbps unlimited broadband for home.

    Oh wait, they have fiber broadband for home which for $80 you can enjoy 200(download)/100 (upload)MBps….WOW…. oh wait, there’s one more, for $320, you can enjoy 1000(down)/500(up)Mbps…WOOOT!!!

  7. They can’t even keep my regular internet at home up for a week solid. How do they expect someone to pay for this? Sounds good on paper but I’m going to see what other companies spring up with such service because comcast sucks.