It’s been in the works for a long time, but now it’s finally real. The first baby steps have been taken. Comcast Corp announced that it is now rolling out DOCSIS 3.0 “wideband” internet service for its subscribers, which will increase maximum line speed to 50 Mbps.
The deployment starts with a handful of markets – New England, Philadelphia, and New Jersey – but should be available in the top 10 markets nationwide by the end of the year.
And here is the rub, costs to the subscriber are climbing. Wideband service will be available to subscribers under two different prices: $62.95 or $139.95 a month for residential customers, and $99.95 or $189.95 a month for businesses. The higher priced “Extreme 50” service offers speeds of up to 50 Mbps downstream 10 Mbps upstream, while “Ultra” service offers half the bandwidth for half the price.
Current DOCSIS 2.0 speeds top out at around 38 Mbps for downstream service, per channel. DOCSIS 3.0 allows ISPs to bond multiple channels into a single connection, allowing for up to an eight-fold increase in speed – up to 300 Mbps in the U.S. and 400 Mbps in Europe. Furthermore, the new specification adds full support for IPv6.
Future versions of DOCSIS could see downstream speeds crossing the 1 Gbit/s mark, as the maximum number of bonded channels is allowed to increase; DOCSIS 3.0 allows for 10 channels to be bonded.
Existing customers will see benefits too, and can expect the speed of their service to double. Existing customers must upgrade to a DOCSIS 3.0 compatible modem for the higher speeds.
Worried about Verizon’s fiber to the home — Competition is great. Just think about what life would be like with only a pedestrian, Obama approved, broadband system — Yech.
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