50 Mbps Comcast network to be 65% complete this year

Comcast began the rollout of its wideband DOCSIS 3.0 network in October last year, promising a 50Mbps "Extreme" tier for 10 million homes in the northeastern United States.

The goal for completing Comcast's "wideband" network remains 2010, which will then serve as a waypoint for further DOCSIS development. Yesterday, the company announced it will triple the network's size this year.

"Looking ahead," said Comcast CEO Steve Burke, "Our goal is to get our entire footprint up to 12 Mbps and to offer 50 to 100 Mbps in as many places as possible."

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Currently, the cable operator is about 30% of the way toward completing its goal, with approximately 15 million homes already upgraded. Customers of the highest tier, with 50 Mbps downstream and 10Mbps upstream speeds, pay $139.95 per month and have a monthly cap of 250 GB. The Ultra tier offers up to 22 Mbps downstream and 5 Mbps upstream for $62.95 a month.

The DOCSIS (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification) standard is the communications protocol designed to allow high speed data to flow over the existing coaxial cable infrastructure. Version 3.0, approved in 2006, added support for higher speeds via channel bonding (a form of signal multiplexing), and support for IPv6.

Comcast faces strong competition from Verizon's FiOS and AT&T's U-Verse fiber optic services, which both have shown continuous growth. AT&T's U-verse just experienced its single most gainful quarter, finally exceeding 1 million subscribers, and 17 million homes in reach. Verizon FiOS hit the 1 million subscriber mark more than a year prior.

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