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New tech allows for superfast internet speeds in U.S.

Comcast Corp announced that it is now rolling out DOCSIS 3.0 “wideband” internet service for its subscribers, which will increase maximum line speed to 50 Mbps.

The deployment starts with a handful of markets – New England, Philadelphia, and New Jersey – but should be available in the top 10 markets nationwide by the end of the year.

Wideband service will be available to subscribers under two different prices: $62.95 or $139.95 a month for residential customers, and $99.95 or $189.95 a month for businesses. The higher priced “Extreme 50” service offers speeds of up to 50 Mbps downstream/ 10 Mbps upstream, while “Ultra” service offers half the bandwidth for half the price.

Current DOCSIS 2.0 speeds top out at around 38 Mbps for downstream service, per channel. DOCSIS 3.0 allows ISPs to bond multiple channels into a single connection, allowing for up to an eight-fold increase in speed – up to 300 Mbps in the U.S. and 400 Mbps in Europe. Furthermore, the new specification adds full support for IPv6.

Future versions of DOCSIS could see downstream speeds crossing the 1 Gbit/s mark, as the maximum number of bonded channels is allowed to increase; DOCSIS 3.0 allows for no more than 10.

Existing customers will see benefits too, says Comcast Corporate Communications Senior Manager Lynsey Silvesti, and can expect the speed of their service to double.

With DOCSIS 3.0, Comcast’s offerings are nearly at parity with Verizon’s fiber-to-the-curb “FiOS” service, whose most expensive option offers 50 Mbps downstream/20 Mbps upstream. Unlike FiOS, however, DOCSIS 3.0 is compatible with existing infrastructure – meaning that cable operators do not have to install new lines.

Cable subscribers looking to take advantage of the new technology will need to upgrade their modem, as existing modems are not compatible with the new specification.





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