Comcast brings DOCSIS 3.0 to the Windy City

Comcast can now put another point in its DOCSIS 3.0 upgrade wins column. The MSO announced this week that it completed its DOCSIS 3.0 upgrade in its greater Chicago area market, including Northwest Indiana. In July, Comcast reported it had upgraded about 50 percent of its nationwide HFC network to DOCSIS 3.0, and it remains confident it will pass 80 percent of its total homes and businesses with DOCSIS 3.0 by the end of 2009. This projection is up from the initial 65 percent target Comcast set in February.

And it appears that Comcast is well on the path of achieving its 80 percent penetration goal. The MSO's DOCSIS 3.0-based service is currently available in 11 U.S. cities, including: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, parts of Connecticut, Fort Wayne, parts of New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, the Twin Cities and Seattle. Subscribers can choose from two DOCSIS 3.0 service sets. The first is Extreme 50, which gives users up to 50 Mbps downstream/10 Mbps upstream for $99.95 a month when bundled with video. The second is the Ultra service package, which gives subscribers 22 Mbps downstream and 5 Mbps upstream service plus a similar double-play video bundle for $62.95 a month.

Cable's DOCSIS 3.0 race is certainly on. Comcast's fellow cable brothers Cox Communications, Canadian operator Rogers and the U.K.'s Virgin Media have been making DOCSIS 3.0 waves lately. Similar to Comcast, Cox has also taken a tactical approach to its DOCSIS 3.0 rollouts by launching its wideband service in not only Verizon's FiOS territories (Fairfax County, Virginia and Rhode Island), but more recently Qwest's FTTN territories in Phoenix. Meanwhile, Rogers launched its wideband service in parts of Toronto last week.   

Of course, DOCSIS 3.0 is not just a large MSO's game. With its conversion to all-digital video complete in its major metro markets, competitive cable operator RCN said it will begin rolling out DOCSIS 3.0-based services initially in its New York and Boston markets this fall.

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