Users in our Comcast forum have been complaining that their 3.5 Mbps down/ 384kbps up service simply isn't fast enough
, despite the fact that most Comcast customers see speeds half that impressive; though perhaps not for long. Speed upgrades are something Comcast CEO Brian Roberts is apparently looking to fix, if Dave Burstein's latest DSLPrime Newsletter
is any indication.
While it doesn't mention upstream speed improvements, the company is apparently looking to make 3 Mbps speeds a standard commodity (upgrading from there), and according to Burstein, Roberts is "planning to push to the limit a network designed for five or ten times as much traffic as the typical telco."
For the moment it would appear that improved service will be Comcast's answer to Verizon's recent decision to lower rates and provide free Wi-Fi hotspots in select cities.
Burstein quotes Comcast's chief strategist Mark Coblitz as saying the company is aiming for "multiple 5 Mbps connections to most homes,"
while quoting an anonymous (fortunately for him) SBC planner as wondering "who ever needs more than 2 Mbps?"
The telcos do, and they're painfully aware of it as they try to flesh out the best delivery method for video services. Speaking at a recent conference
, Verizon President Lawrence T. Babbio Jr. made indications that FTTH would be that conduit, and that Verizon would be working hard to roll out fiber to residential neighborhoods beginning in 2004. "We are offering a full fiber connection right to the home, not to the curb. It essentially will give you probably 10 to 15 times the bandwidth of DSL today."
Of course if you ask someone like Bruce Kushnick of Teletruth
, he'll tell you that Verizon has been promising such technology for the better part of a decade without actually delivering it (See Kushnick's accusations of Verizon's broken promises
in multiple states).
As we mentioned recently, you know something's afoot in the broadband industry when Optimum On-line customers begin legitimately debating the pros and cons of switching to Verizon DSL
. While the cable companies have put on a brave face the past few weeks, and analysts have been busy predicting no change in the DSL vs. Cable landscape, clearly customers are at least curious about Verizon's lower price point.