Friday, December 12, 2008

Comcast Continues To Expand Its 50Mbps Service

On Thursday Comcast announced the expansion of its DOCSIS 3.0 service to four more markets: Chicago, Atlanta, Baltimore, and Ft. Wayne, Indiana. The company now offers wideband 50Mbps services in 10 cities. Overall Comcast claims it now reaches 20 percent of its customer base with the addition of those four markets and by the end of December, 10 million homes and businesses in each of the cities will be able to sign up for the service.

"This means we also reached Brian Roberts’ stated goal of reaching 20% of our footprint this year." a Comcast representative said in an email.

As previously reported Comcast's New Residential Tiers will be as follows:

  • Extreme 50, offering up to 50 Mbps of downstream speed and up to 10 Mbps of upstream speed at $139.95/month.
  • Ultra, offering up to 22 Mbps of downstream speed and up to 5 Mbps of upstream speed at $62.95/month.
Services for current customers will also receive an upgrade, Performance tier customers will get double their downstream and upstream speeds, to 12 Mbps and 2 Mbps, respectively, Performance Plus customers, meanwhile, will be upgraded to Comcast's Blast tier, which provides a 16 Mbps download speed and 2 Mbps of upload speed.

Popular ISP and Broadband forums DSL Reports has been reporting users are taking advantage of the performance upgrades to downgrading to a cheaper service.

One recurring theme we've seen in our forums is that the new speeds have many users downgrading. In both forum threads and polls, many customers on Comcast's 16Mbps/2Mbps tier say they're downgrading to their 12Mbps/2Mbps tier -- apparently because they don't think an additional 4Mbps downstream is worth $10. Customers used to be willing to pay the additional $10 for double the upstream speed, but there's no longer an upstream difference between the tiers.

Typically a user will see little difference between a 16Mbps service and a 12Mbps service as download speeds are dependent on too many other factors. The upload differences from 1Mbps to 2Mbps however is more substantial and noticeable. The new service is also creating ruffles with many users complaining that the newly imposed 250gb monthly cap is far to low. With these new speeds and Comcast seemingly advertising the use of its service for downloading videos and high-def movies passing that cap seems much more likely.

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