Comcast to deliver 305 Mbps speed tier over Ethernet-based FTTH

MSO is focused on challenging Verizon FiOS' Quantum service
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Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) on Thursday revealed plans that it will soon offer a 305 Mbps/65 Mbps speed tier over a point-to-point Ethernet-based Fiber to the Home (FTTH) network.

Comcast's fiber-based $300 service tier is, not surprisingly, being used to target markets where Verizon (NYSE: VZ) is offering its 300/65 Mbps Quantum speed tiers, according to Broadband Reports.

Not long after Verizon launched its 300 Mbps service in June, another Broadband Reports article said Comcast was also developing a 305 Mbps offering, but did not reveal any of the technical details of the offering.

The markets where Comcast will deliver the fiber-based service include parts of Boston, Hartford, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Wilmington, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Richmond, and New Jersey.

According to anonymous sources in Broadband Reports' user forum, Comcast will be delivering a service that looks and smells like the Metro Ethernet service it delivers to its business clients. To deliver the service, the MSO will use Ciena's (Nasdaq: CIEN) 3931 Service Delivery Switch in the last mile network and a NETGEAR (Nasdaq: NTGR) R6300 gateway inside the home.

However, there appear to be some key limitations to the service. For one, a customer has to be located near one of its Metro Ethernet platforms, which it using to target medium and large business customers. Second, a customer has to live in a single-dwelling unit that is located 1/3 mile from a fiber node.

Charlie Douglas, a Comcast spokesman, said in a Light Reading article that it is using its existing fiber network to deliver a service to gauge interest in these higher speed platforms and determine what changes it may need to make on its existing DOCSIS infrastructure.

"We've demonstrated our DOCSIS 3.0 infrastructure, which we currently deliver to more than 50 million homes, is capable of delivering 1 Gbps or more," Douglas said. "While demand for faster speeds continues to grow, demand for ultrafast speed tiers (of more than 200 Mbps) is still emerging. In the near-term, until there is clear demand to modify the capacity of our existing DOCSIS infrastructure, we can provide our new residential Extreme 305 service by leveraging the fiber already in our network and our Metro-E product."

Comcast, however, isn't the only MSO that wants to take a bite out of Verizon's higher-speed FiOS lunch. Charter Communications (Nasdaq: CHTR), while not revealing any specific plans, said in late August that it is also developing a 300 Mbps speed tier.

For more:
- Broadband Reports has this article
- Here's Light Reading's take

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