updated 11:35 am EDT, Thu April 14, 2011
Comcast 105Mbps Internet hits 40m potential users
Comcast on Thursday hoped to take its 105Mbps cable Internet mainstream with a national rollout. The Extreme 105 tier is estimated to be in reach of about 40 million potential subscribers in core cities, such as Boston, Chicago, Denver, Miami, Philadelphia, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington DC. Its service as before runs off of the DOCSIS 3.0 standard's channel bonding and can upload faster than many home connections at 10Mbps.
Assuming the connection reached its peak and the destination can match the service, Comcast estimated about a 15- to 18-fold speed boost compared to a 6Mbps connection. A 4GB 720p movie on a service like iTunes should take about five minutes to download, it gave as an example.
Full pricing hasn't been mentioned so far. Comcast is hoping to steer subscribers into TV and phone bundles where the Internet service will cost $105 per month for the first year of service. It hasn't said what the price will be afterwards or if customers will be allowed to get the maximum speed without a bundle.
The coverage might help fulfill the connection goals of the FCC's National Broadband Plan, where the goal was to wire 100 million homes with at least 100Mbps access, but won't necessarily address the issues of affordability and rural access. At $105, the tier would be limited to mostly upper-middle-class housing and is so far confined to urban areas. Comcast and other providers have often resisted the sorts of price cuts that would be needed to reach a broader part of the population and claim they can't deploy to rural areas since they won't recoup the cost.