Comcast boosts broadband speeds

Good news, Comcast users: now some of you will be able to reach that 250GB monthly cap even quicker. Ars Technica says the cable provider plans to increase the penetration of its 50Mbps service to areas including Boston, southern New Hampshire, and "parts of" Philadelphia and New Jersey over the coming weeks. The 50Mbps service debuted in the Twin Cities area in April, and Comcast then vowed to offer the same speeds across its whole service area by 2010.

Comcast dubs the service "Extreme," and it advertises 50Mbps (6.25MB/s) download speeds and 10Mbps (1.25MB/s) upload speeds for $139.95 a month—that's $10 cheaper with twice the upstream of the initial offering. Comcast has also introduced a $62.95 "Ultra" service with a 22Mbps downstream and 5Mbps upstream. Finally, the company has doubled the speeds of its "Performance" and "Plus" tiers, which should now offer 16Mbps and 12Mbps download speeds, respectively.

As Ars points out, Comcast uses DOCSIS 3.0 cable technology to achieve the 50Mbps speeds. The firm will reportedly broaden DOCSIS 3.0 coverage to "another six or seven major markets and . . . almost 10 million homes and businesses" over the coming months, and it said in June that the same technology could be used to crank download speeds up to 160Mbps in the future.

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