Comcast Cranks Up Bandwidth Speed: Caps Limit the 'Wow' Factor

Comcast high-speed Internet customers in parts of Oregon and Southwest Washington will have a much-faster option starting in December. The cable provider is rolling out its Extreme 50 service, which has download speeds of up to 50 megabits per second.

Called “wideband” by Comcast, but officially known as DOCSIS 3.0, the high-speed service seems like a bandwidth hog’s dream. That is, until you realize that Comcast’s 250GB monthly download cap remains in place. Keep to the cap, however, and the benefits are obvious. Extreme 50 customers should be able to download a high-def movie (6 GB) in about 16 minutes, Comcast says.

Aside from Verizon’s FiOS, it’ll be hard for home users to find Net service with comparable speed. Wideband won’t come cheap, though. Extreme 50, which offers up to 50 Mbps downstream and 10 Mbps upstream, costs a whopping $139.95 a month. Ultra, a relatively slower offering with 22 Mbps downstream, 5 Mbps upstream, is $62.95 a month.

In a prepared statement, Curt Henninger, senior vice president of Comcast Oregon and SW Washington, called wideband a “preview of what’s to come,” adding that in the future Comcast will be able to “ deliver even faster speeds in excess of 160 Mbps.” No timetable was given for future rollouts, however.

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