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Philly Gets Ready to Rumble: Comcast, RCN, and Verizon Prepare for Broadband Battle

Phillip Dampier July 23, 2009 Broadband Speed, Comcast/Xfinity, RCN, Verizon 5 Comments
Photo by K. Ciappa for GPTMC

Photo by K. Ciappa for GPTMC

The city of Philadelphia will witness a three-way battle for your broadband dollar in the coming months as three competitors race to upgrade their networks to deliver the kind of “blazing fast speeds” only dreamed about in much of the rest of the country.

Comcast, the dominant cable provider in Philadelphia, today announced 50Mbps broadband service for greater Philadelphia residents for $99 a month.  The new, faster speeds are available because Comcast’s Freedom Region has been upgraded to the DOCSIS 3 standard.  Comcast’s Freedom Region includes metro Philadelphia and the counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery, as well as northern Delaware and southern New Jersey.

Comcast also doubled the speeds of many of its broadband customers today.  Here’s a roundup of the affected tiers:

Performance — 12Mbps/2Mbps — $42.95/month
Performance Plus — 16Mbps/2Mbps — $52.95/month (no change of upload speed from previous tier)
Ultra — 22Mbps/5Mbps — $62.95/month
Extreme 50 — 50Mbps/10Mbps — $99/month

*DOCSIS 3 modem upgrade required.

Meanwhile, cable overbuilder RCN, which serves parts of Philadelphia and the Lehigh Valley to the west announced it was aggressively moving to upgrade its own network to DOCSIS 3, and is taking the dramatic step of dumping all of its analog channels from the lineup, switching to all-digital cable, starting in Allentown.  RCN has already confirmed it will offer up to 50Mbps service in upgraded areas, but has the capacity to expand to 100Mbps service if needed.  RCN had been planning to launch upgraded DOCSIS 3 service starting in New York and Boston, but market conditions in Philadelphia will make it necessary to expand there as well.

The newest player in town is Verizon, whose fiber to the home FiOS service is capable of the fastest download and upload speeds in the marketplace.  Verizon has offered packages with equal download and upload speeds (20Mbps/20Mbps being the most common) in the past, but is capable of achieving even faster speeds.  It currently provides 50Mbps/20Mbps service in many areas.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us. We will wire the entire city with the nation’s most advanced fiber-optic network, starting with Chestnut Hill, and we expect the first customers to have FiOS services by later this year,” Verizon spokesman Eric Rabe wrote in a blog post. “Other neighborhoods where we will begin building soon are Brewerytown, East and West Mount Airy, South Philadelphia, and the Kensington sections of the city.”

Verizon expects the entire city to be FiOS-ready by 2016, reaching about 660,000 houses and apartment buildings. It is already available in 182 communities surrounding the city.


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  • Cindy: I live in Pennsville in Salem County and I guess we don't have a high enough population to get Verizon FiOS. Although like you I also heard that there...
  • Alan Rodin: I have contacted the Simmons Hanly Conroy law firm. They are one of the top class action law firm in the U.S. If you would like to join a class action...
  • Natasha Massey: This happened to us! I called to cancel our service because we’d be moving in one week to a new state. The rep we spoke to over the phone said we ...
  • Mike: Maybe your Line filters are bad. Any phone plugged into a jack will require line filter. Just a suggestion....
  • Vanessa Tomblin: Copper is so obsolete but you can’t explain to some ppl they need to complain to the fcc to get things done!...
  • Kay Tomblin: Exactly they have given stimulus money several times w The buying of frontier from Verizon and now grants which they if used on customers at all are ...
  • Bill Denham: Their service is a joke. It's out more then it's in. The price is not worth it. Total crap service....
  • Deborah: I bought my system once it was under Spectrum . I am pissed . I’m sure there will be a law suit . They can add me to there list . I chose though to g...
  • James R Curry: Steve Burke really creating some buzz for the service there, talking about "Shareholder value" by the third sentence. My hand involuntarily reached f...
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  • shishir c babu: First of all there was no preparatory time given to the subscribers about the change.I came to know of it only in the first week of January!! Second t...

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