Chicago suburbs last week, bay area (maybe) this week...
Comcast quickly hit their DOCSIS 3.0 deployment target of 20% of their footprint by the end of 2008, and continues on the path to their promise of having all markets updated with the speedier technology by the end of 2010. Last week saw the quiet launch of DOCSIS 3.0 in some additional Chicago suburbs, according to one Comcast insider. Little birdies tell us that the technology could hit the Bay Area by the end of the week (though we've yet to officially confirm this with Comcast, who traditionally doesn't comment on launch windows anyway).
50Mbps arrived in the Twin Cities last April
, with Metro Boston, Philly Metro, Northern New England and Southern Massachusetts markets arriving in October
. November saw launches in Seattle, Portland, Spokane, and Eugene. In December, Comcast dropped the "Wideband" bomb in parts of Baltimore, Chicago, Atlanta, and Fort Wayne, Indiana.
In upgraded markets, Comcast first upgrades existing speed tiers for free. Comcast's $42.95 "Performance" 6Mbps/1Mbps tier becomes 12Mbps/2Mbps, and their $52.95 "Performance Plus" 8Mbps/2Mbps tier becomes 16Mbps/2Mbps. When your market is upgraded, Comcast also adds two new tiers to the mix: $62.95 "Ultra" 22Mbps/5Mbps and the aforementioned $139.95 "Extreme 50" 50Mbps/10Mbps.
The 22Mbps and 50Mbps tiers require a new modem. $139.95 for broadband remains a little too rich for most people's blood, so many speed freaks seem drawn instead to the less expensive 22Mbps, $62.95 tier. Many economically minded customers in our Comcast forum take the opportunity to downgrade from 16Mbps/2Mbps to the 12Mbps/2Mbps tier -- apparently because they don't think an additional 4Mbps downstream is worth $10.