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Comcast Explores 250Mbps Service, Perhaps in 2011 — Will It Matter With a 250 GB Allowance?

Phillip Dampier February 22, 2010 Broadband Speed, Comcast/Xfinity, Internet Overcharging 3 Comments

Broadband Reports this morning heard from a trusted source who says America’s largest cable operator is considering offering 250Mbps service to customers, perhaps as early as 2011.

While some cable operators (Time Warner Cable) have dragged their feet on DOCSIS 3 upgrades, Comcast has not — it is expected to have 100 percent of its cable systems upgraded this year.

DOCSIS 3 provides vastly increased speeds across a more robust network.  Older standards provided neighborhoods with a single 6 Mhz channel, with a 36Mbps downstream pipeline.  While that may be fine for a neighborhood browsing web pages and checking e-mail, it doesn’t take much too much high bandwidth activity to start slowing speeds down.  DOCSIS 3 “bonds” multiple channels together to create one fat pipeline.  Newer chipsets support eight combined 6Mhz channels, capable of providing that same neighborhood with 320Mbps of capacity.  Using schemes like PowerBoost, or with few others online, Comcast can deliver occasional bursts of speed at 250Mbps to customers without further upgrades, notes Dave Burstein of DSL Prime.

The bigger question is will customers pay the premium price for 250Mbps if Comcast maintains its 250GB usage limit on it?  Super speed tiers like this are useful to customers using high bandwidth applications.  It doesn’t make sense to upgrade to premium speeds if they’re accompanied by a usage governor.

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Currently there are 3 comments on this Article:

  1. Ian L says:

    250GB is still more than most customers use, though Comcast should probably have a higher cap on 50+ Mbps tiers due to their high cost.

    Fortunately, no matter what, Comcast’s business tiers aren’t priced in the stratosphere like those of some other cable providers. *cough cough* Time Warner *cough cough*

  2. Loons In June! says:

    I have never understood the continual case that is always made that just because you have a faster connection that you then download more. I currently am in the middle of buying a new car. Money is not really an issue so I have a price range of 10,000 – 35,000 Bucks. I am leaning towards a 6.2 liter 420 hp Camaro to replace my current 4 Cylinder vehicle I own now. Now when I get my vehicle I will use it to go to work and I am sure that I can make that trip faster in the Camaro than I can in my old vehicle. Just because I can maybe knock 10 minutes off the drive it does not mean that I will take the longer route daily and add more miles to my drive. I will continue to do what i do now just faster.

    • Broadband is not a car. :-) I feel like a certain former senator from Alaska.

      Broadband applications have evolved to take advantage of faster speeds. Instead of an AM radio quality RealAudio feed that used to be a mainstay of streaming a decade ago, we can now stream HD-quality TV programming and movies.

      If you were just using your faster connection for RealAudio that used 16 megabytes an hour, you’d have a point. But instead people are consuming several gigabytes to watch an HD movie.

      Faster speeds bring new, innovative applications that take advantage of those speeds to move masses of data that simply wouldn’t be tenable on a slower connection.

      You can speed in your Camaro and break the law and potentially get a ticket. It’s not a crime to seek higher broadband speeds to use applications that a slower connection simply cannot support.

      It’s why U-verse cannot operate on an ADSL platform, or IPTV requires something more than 1Mbps service to function well on a shared connection.

      It’s also why a lot of people will reject a premium priced broadband tier that comes with a usage cap that limits your use of it.







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