Qwest confirmed previous reports that it will gradually upgrade parts of its DSL network to VDSL2 technology, doubling its downstream capability to 40 Mbps and increasing by 10 times its upstream maximum of 20 Mbps.  

Although 40 Mbps should be more than enough to provide the triple play, including IPTV, Qwest appears to be focusing entirely on data and data/voice bundles. The company said it will continue to offer video through its partnership with DirecTV. 

In comparison, AT&T uses ADSL2, which affords up to 25 Mbps total, to provide its U-verse product bundle, including IPTV along with VoIP and data.

Qwest said it has started to roll out VDSL2 on a limited basis in Denver, Tucson, Ariz., Salt Lake City, and Minneapolis/St. Paul. In the coming months, the company said it plans to introduce these services to select areas within 23 markets, including markets in New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington State.

Qwest said its fiber-to-the-node deployment has reached more than 2 million potential customers.

VDSL2 has a theoretical maximum data rate of 100 Mbps with loop lengths of about half a kilometer (about 1,600 feet). Double the loop length and the maximum data rate is halved. Consequently, Qwest can get the 40 Mbps service only to those customers within a kilometer, or about two-thirds of a mile, from a central office (CO) or remote terminal (RT).

As for pricing, the company will provide 40 Mbps downstream and 5 Mbps upstream service in a bundle at an introductory price of $99.99 per month for the first 12 months. In all cases, an activation fee will apply.

Data service at 40 Mbps/20 Mbps starts at $109.99 per month for the first 12 months when combined with a qualifying home phone package.

Current Qwest DSL customers can bump up their current data rates by 5 Mbps for an additional $5 per month.

Qwest said it is using Actiontec’s VDSL2/ADSL2+/2 Universal DSL wireless gateway in customers’ homes.

Neil Cox, executive vice president of Qwest product and IT, said: “Faster download speeds are important, but upload speeds are getting more attention. By increasing connection speeds in both directions, Qwest is poised to support user-generated content and simultaneous high-bandwidth applications, like multiple online video streams and downloads or multiple players of online video games.”

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