Comcast’s D3 service speeds into Indy; Project Cavalry hits N.H.

Mon, 02/22/2010 - 7:35am
Mike Robuck

Comcast said today that its DOCSIS 3.0 wideband service has landed in the Indianapolis area.

Starting today, Comcast’s Extreme 50 tier, with download speeds of up to 50 Mbps, is available in the following cities: Anderson, Bloomington, Kokomo, Greenwood, Noblesville, Fishers, Lafayette, Attica and Muncie. Comcast said the wideband service was already deployed in the Fort Wayne and South Bend areas.

"Wideband utilizes our existing advanced fiber-optic network in neighborhoods across our footprint to dramatically enhance our customers' online experience," said Scott Tenney, senior vice president of Comcast's Indianapolis Region. "This new service will enable us to continue to offer our customers even faster speeds and an entirely new realm of Internet innovation."

Extreme 50 has upload speeds of up to 10 Mbps and costs $99.95 for residential customers who also subscribe to Comcast’s cable service.

Business customers will also have access to the new wideband services. Customers can sign up for the Deluxe 50 Mbps/10 Mbps tier for $189.95 per month.

Unlike previous DOCSIS 3.0 deployments, Comcast isn’t offering its Ultra DOCSIS 3.0-based tier in the Indianapolis area. In other markets, Ultra has a downstream speed of 22 Mbps and 5 Mbps up at a cost of $62.95 per month when paired with the company’s video or voice offerings.

As it has done in previous deployments of DOCSIS 3.0, Comcast also increased the speeds for its existing Performance tier residential customers, who will now benefit from doubled downstream and upstream speeds offering up to 12 Mbps and 2 Mbps, respectively.

Comcast’s Performance Plus customers will be upgraded to its Blast! tier, which will boost their download speeds to up to 16 Mbps and provide up to 2 Mbps of upload speed.

Customers can reach even faster speeds temporarily with Comcast’s PowerBoost technology.

To date, Comcast has rolled out the new wideband technology to more than 75 percent of its footprint across the nation, which totals more than 38 million homes and businesses.

Comcast is also gearing up for a faster 100 Mbps service but so far has only launched it in Minneapolis/St. Paul last year.

During an earnings report earlier this month, Comcast said it expects to have DOCSIS 3.0 rolled out across its entire footprint by early this year.

All-digital in N.H.
During the same earnings call, Comcast also said it would be close to wrapping up its analog-to-digital conversion project, which is known internally as “Project Cavalry,” this year.

On the digital conversion front, the Concord Monitor reported over the weekend that 39 analog channels were being moved to Comcast’s digital tier. The digital conversion is underway in the New Hampshire cities of Allenstown, Antrim, Boscawen, Bow, Canterbury, Chichester, Concord, Deering, Epsom, Henniker, Hillsboro, Hopkinton, Loudon, Pembroke and Weare.

On Wednesday, 12 channels – including Food Network, E! and The Weather Channel – will switch to the digital format.

An additional 27 channels, including ESPN, NESN, TBS and Nickelodeon, will switch over March 23.

Later this year, Project Cavalry will ride into the Derry area, Nashua and the Seacoast.

Digital terminal adapters (DTAs) have been a key component in Comcast’s analog-to-digital project. During the most recent earnings call, Comcast said it had deployed roughly 6.2 million DTAs.

Cable operators can reclaim between 250 MHz and 300 MHz in each system that goes all-digital. If a typical cable system has 79 analog channels and the operator decides to move 59 of those channels to digital, while perhaps leaving 20 or so as a life-line analog service for some select markets, it would reclaim 354 MHz.

Given 354 MHz of reclaimed spectrum in the example above – and the fact that, on average, 10 SD MPEG-2 digital programs can be inserted into one 6 MHz slot – this yields enough bandwidth for nearly 590 channels.

More Broadband Direct 2/22/10:
•  CED Blog: Reviving a Cheetah
•  Comcast's D3 service speeds into Indy; Project Cavalry hits N.H.
•  Cox fires up 1st commercial solar installation in Avondale
•  Report: Smartphone coming for Clear
•  Time Warner Cable adds more HD, Start Over in Cincy
•  Moto's Moloney takes over at Technitrol
•  Cable Center offers online courses 
•  ITC to Launch Probe into Apple, Nokia Complaint
•  Google finishes $125M buy of On2 Technologies




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