Comcast readies 50Mbps cable service trial

After turning around on its position relating to peer-to-peer file sharing, Comcast is preparing to trial a speedier service for bandwidth-hungry consumers. According to the Associated Press, the U.S. Internet service provider will first unveil the new service in the Minnesota Twin Cities region later today, and it plans to offer it across "its entire service area" by 2010.

The new service will allow speeds of up to 50Mbps, or 6.25MB/s, which should be quick enough to let users pull an entire 4.38GB DVD archive in just under 12 minutes and a 700MB CD image in less than two minutes. However, uploads will be limited to 5Mbps (625KB/s), and Twin Cities area residents interested in the service will have to cough up a hefty $150 a month for the privilege. Small businesses will be forced to pay even more—$200 per month.

For reference, Verizon announced last November that it had started offering 30/15Mbps and 50/20Mbps FIOS fiber-to-the-home services in some locations at prices ranging from $89.95 to $139.95 a month. That said, the two services use different technologies. Comcast's 50Mbps service will use the DOCSIS 3.0 cable standard, which relies on coaxial cables rather than a direct fiber connection to users' homes. (Thanks to TR reader Shane for the link.)

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