Yesterday’s news that RCN, through its RCN Business Services division, was launching a DOCSIS 3.0 service for small- to medium-size businesses was noteworthy for several reasons, not the least of which was that it appears competing DOCSIS 3.0 services will be available in the same areas for the first time in North America.
As noted in yesterday’s story, RCN will initially launch its D3 service in Manhattan and Boston, both of which already have the faster DOCSIS 3.0 speeds available from Time Warner Cable and Comcast.
RCN will go head-to-head with Time Warner Cable in Manhattan, and with Comcast in Boston. At this point, it’s hard to say where the competing services will overlap in each area, but the bottom line is that businesses will have their choice of DOCSIS 3.0 services.
To date, DOCSIS 3.0 – which increases speeds by bonding downstream channels – has been largely deployed in areas where Verizon, Qwest or AT&T offer their services. With the troubled economy, cable operators have also cherry-picked the best metropolitan areas for their D3 launches, although Comcast plans to have D3 in 80 percent of its footprint by year’s end.
Tale of the tape
- RCN offers data peak rates of 20 Mbps downstream/5 Mbps upstream, 40 Mbps downstream/5 Mbps upstream and 60 Mbps downstream/10 Mbps upstream.
- Time Warner Cable’s Business Class Wideband Internet comes in two tiers: 50 Mbps downstream/5 Mbps upstream and 20 Mbps/2 Mbps.
- Comcast’s Deluxe tier tops out at 50 Mbps/10 Mbps, while the Premium tier has speeds of 22/5.
- Specific pricing from RCN wasn’t available, but RCN said pricing would allow for one- to two-year commitments ranging from $59.99 to $199.99.
- Time Warner Cable’s 50 Mbps service is priced at $289.95, while the 20 Mbps is $199.95, with both tiers less applicable terms and bundle discounts.
- Comcast’s 50 Mbps/10 Mbps tier costs $189.95 per month, and the Premium tier is $99.95.
With the competing services, businesses can find a tier and price point that fits their needs. RCN, Time Warner Cable and Comcast can also differentiate themselves by offering various applications and add-ons, such as static IP addresses, multiple e-mail accounts, security offerings, hosted VoIP, video conferencing, streaming video and secure VPNs.
Despite the economy and the competition, all three see the value in launching the faster tiers to businesses, and the current deployments may foreshadow additional D3 wars down the road.