updated 09:15 am EST, Thu January 10, 2008
BT and Comcast 100Mbps
At least two major Western Internet providers will have Internet access topping the 100 megabit per second (Mbps) mark before the end of the year, according to announcements. American cable provider Comcast has confirmed at CES that it is readying a service based on the new DOCSIS 3 cable modem standard that will bond together multiple cable channels to achieve Internet speeds far in excess of the version 2 speeds available today. Under good conditions, the technology translates to about 160Mbps for downloads and 120Mbps for uploads. This has led to full-length HD movie downloads in under four minutes during demonstrations, Comcast says.
Although still in draft form, DOCSIS 3-grade service should be available for about 20 percent of Comcast's whole subscriber base by the end of 2008 and should expand further in 2009. While this will affect "millions of homes," according to the company, official speeds have not been revealed and may be lower to meet the capabilities of local networks. In some areas, the service may have to compete with Verizon's FiOS fiber-optic cable network, which typically provides between 15Mbps and 20Mbps but offers as much as 50Mbps with higher service tiers.
Separately, British Telecom today announced that it would begin rolling out fiber optic networks in place of traditional copper, potentially offering as much as 100Mbps to those attached to BT's wired network. The technology will allow BT to offer multiple simultaneous HDTV signals, more advanced gaming, and near-effortless music downloads, the British firm explains. The rollout should begin in Ebbsfleet Valley in Kent as of August and should expand outwards over the next few years as the company adds new installations or replaces old ones. DSL access over copper should also be upgraded to 24Mbps this year.