A Comcast insider tells me that Sarasota, Florida should begin seeing DOCSIS 3.0 gear and faster 50Mbps speeds starting next month. The company is in the process of installing DOCSIS 3.0 in the market now to help them do combat with FiOS. Initial installs should begin in June, and all of Sarasota should have the speedier gear installed by July. In FiOS markets, Comcast is skipping 16Mbps "Blast" upgrades, and bringing out the big guns.
Comcast is paying a good deal of attention to Florida because in addition to FiOS, AT&T is planning a U-Verse launch in North Florida sometime in June. Given U-Verse maxes out at 10Mbps, the broader Southeast should see an increase in 16Mbps Blast availability to help counter AT&T's long-awaited push into BellSouth territory.
Comcast has also created an internal bounty program for spotting U-Verse launches. "Big wigs have been bombarding us with emails telling us to be on lookout for Uverse yard signs," one employee tells me. "There is even a bounty of $100 to first verified address that can get Uverse."
Last month, Comcast launched their first pre-certification DOCSIS 3.0 market, offering $150, 50Mbps/5Mbps service in the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Last week a Comcast executive stated that they've got three markets running on DOCSIS 3.0, but two of them are currently only engaged in testing.
Comcast customers annoyed that they'll "only" be seeing 16Mbps instead of 50Mbps can blame AT&T for going with FTTN & VDSL instead of FTTH. Still, you won't have to wait long for DOCSIS 3.0 if you're willing to spill the $150: Comcast has promised to deploy 50Mbps DOCSIS 3.0 service to their entire customer base by 2010.