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Dueling Broadband: Comcast, Verizon square off at very high speeds

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Let’s get ready to download? Comcast Thursday morning said they’d offer 105 megabits/second downloading Internet service to subscribers. Ho-hum, Verizon replied, we’ve got 150 Mbp/s, and a smaller number of folks sharing a given pipe.

First, portions of the Comcast announcement:

Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), one of the nation’s leading providers of entertainment, information and communication products and services, announced today that its newest ultra-fast Xfinity Internet speed tier, Extreme 105, is now available to more than 40 million homes in major markets across the nation including San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Denver, Chicago, Miami, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and the majority of Boston, among others. 

The Extreme 105 Mbps service, which also offers up to 10 Mbps upload speeds, is available for new or existing customers at an introductory rate of $105 per month for 12 months as part of their Triple Play bundle. In addition, the service comes with a wireless home networking gateway that turns an entire house into its own WiFi hotspot. Comcast offers Extreme 105 service on a standalone basis, and also offers a variety of other speed tiers in either bundles or as standalone packages, so there’s something for everyone and consumers can choose a service that best meets their needs. 

Extreme 105 is made possible through the use of DOCSIS 3.0 technology. At a connection speed of up to 105 Mbps, Comcast customers can not only download and watch a hi-def movie in about 5 minutes, but also play online interactive games, send and receive email attachments, shop, and update social networking Web pages faster than ever before. Here are some examples that compare different online customer experiences of a 105 Mbps connection to a 6 Mbps service:

Download Example

Time at 105 Mbps

Time at 6 Mbps

High-definition movie (4 GB)

5 minutes

1 hour and 30 minutes

Standard-definition movie (1.5 GB)

2 minutes

30 minutes

Standard-definition TV show (300 MB)

20 seconds

7 minutes

Music album (10 songs or 40 MB)

3 seconds

50 seconds

Note: Typical file sizes and actual download times may vary. Times are approximate.

For more information on Comcast’s Xfinity Internet services, customers can either call 1-800-COMCAST or visit www.comcast.com.

Asked to respond, Verizon spokeswoman Sandra Arnette told The Washington Times via email, “ Comcast is introducing a slower broadband service — with an upstream speed of only 10 [Mbps] compared to our 35 Mbps. Clearly, Comcast is trying to catch up to Verizon, but still is falling short.”

Ms. Arnette added, “Another differentiating factor is that hundreds of Comcast customers share bandwidth in a neighborhood, whereas no more than 32 households share a FiOS connection.”

Last year, Ms. Arnette noted, Verizon launched its own very high speed service, about which the firm said in part:

With a downstream speed of 150 Mbps, consumers can download a two-hour, standard-definition movie (1.5 gigabytes) in less than 80 seconds, and a two-hour HD movie (5 GB) in less than four and a half minutes.

Downloading 20 high-resolution photographs (100 megabytes) would take less than five and a half seconds using the 150/35 Mbps service.  With the 35 Mbps upstream speed, consumers can upload those same 20 high-resolution photos in less than 23 seconds.*

The 150/35 Mbps residential offer will be available to the majority of FiOS-eligible households, and sold as a stand-alone service starting at $194.99 a month when purchased with a one-year service agreement and Verizon wireline voice service.

Neither of these services are, well, cheap. And countries such as South Korea offer a lot more to their users, something readers in South Africa learned about recently.

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About the Author

M. Kellner

Mark A. Kellner is a religion columnist.

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