Comcast today announced it is launching DOCSIS 3.0 in the Washington, D.C., metro area. With DOCSIS 3.0, which the company is calling wideband, Comcast will offer a new echelon of Internet speed tiers.

With wideband, Comcast will offer the Extreme 50 tier with download speeds of up to 50 Mbps. Wideband will also enable Comcast to double speeds for the majority of existing high-speed Internet customers at no additional cost. The wideband offering will utilize the MSO’s existing fiber-optic network.

Comcast has been vocal about its push with DOCSIS 3.0. In its first quarter 2009 earnings call, Comcast COO Steve Burke said, "We are hardcore on DOCSIS 3.0. We want to have two-thirds of our footprint by end of year."

"From a technical point of view, everything is going great," added Burke. "The RBOCs can’t compete when we go up to 50 Mbps and beyond."

According to today’s announcement, Comcast is rolling out its DOCSIS 3.0 services in the Washington, D.C., metro area first in Anacostia neighborhoods east of the river, then to parts of Arlington County, the City of Alexandria, Montgomery County and Prince George’s County. The entire DC market is expected to have wideband by the end of 2009.

Residential customers who bundle another Comcast service can receive the new Extreme 50 top tier with 50 Mbps downstream/10 Mbps upstream for $99.95 per month or the Ultra tier with 22 Mbps downstream/5 Mbps upstream for $62.95 per month.

With Extreme 50, a high-def movie (6 GB) can be downloaded in about 16 minutes, a standard-def movie (2 GB) in about five minutes, and a standard-def TV show (300 MB) in a matter of seconds, according to Comcast’s statement.

Business customers can sign up for the Deluxe 50 Mbps/10 Mbps tier for $189.95/month, which includes Microsoft Communication Services, providing corporate-class e-mail, calendaring and document sharing, as well as firewall protection, static IP addresses, multiple e-mail addresses and business class 24/7 customer support.

(For background on DOCSIS 3.0, click here.)

(For a June story on DOCSIS 3.0 upstream issues, click here.)

– Linda Hardesty

Read more news and analysis on Communications Technology‘s Web site at www.cable360.net/ct/news/.

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