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Comcast at CES: 100Mbps connections coming this year
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Written by Daniel   
Tuesday, 08 January 2008 13:56

Comcast at CES: 100Mbps connections coming this year

By Nate Anderson | Published: January 08, 2008 - 01:16PM CT
ARS Technica

LAS VEGAS—Comcast CEO Brian Roberts took to the stage this morning at CES to talk up his company's plan to offer HD movie downloads in four minutes. Eventually. In 2008, Comcast will begin rolling out the DOCSIS 3.0 protocol throughout its network, and the company hopes to offer speeds of up to 100Mbps over the next two years. Such a massive speed boost appears directly targeted at Verizon's FiOS fiber-optic service, which currently tops out at 50Mbps in most places. Competition: it's a good thing.

Comcast is pitching the speed boost as something transformative, saying that it moves the company from being a simple "broadband" provider to a "wideband" provider. The ultimate goal is to reach the full 160Mbps potential of DOCSIS 3.0 over cable lines, a speed that will allow Comcast to offer HD movie downloads in minutes.

Such a speed boost, should it prove popular with consumers, will obviously put DSL providers like AT&T in a difficult position. Although AT&T is engaged on a major fiber upgrade, it is pulling fiber only to the local node and not to people's homes and apartments. The copper "last-mile" link currently tops out at 25Mbps, and that's assuming an excellent connection.

160Mbps won't be coming to Comcast customers for some time, though. 2008 will be the year that DOCSIS 3.0 rolls out, but it will happen first at lower speeds and in limited markets, as Comcast wants to make sure that the 1.5 zettabytes of weekly data on its network continues to flow without problems.

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