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Exclusive: Comcast Prepping 305 Mbps Tier
To Counter Verizon's New Quantum FiOS Offerings
by Karl Bode 07:29PM Thursday Jul 19 2012
Last month Verizon raised the bar for residential broadband (and high prices) when they announced their new Quantum FiOS tiers, which included a new top shelf 300 Mbps downstream, 65 Mbps upstream tier for $205 a month. Not to be outdone, sources tell Broadband Reports that Comcast is planning to offer a 305 Mbps downstream tier sometime before the end of the year in FiOS markets. A reliable source tells us that all Comcast employees were treated to a live event stream discussing future Xfinity service plans today. Buried among some discussion about the Olympics and an expansion in Spanish language programming, Comcast's Neil Smit made several references to the faster tier being deployed in Verizon FiOS territories "soon."

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There's no hard timeline on the offering yet, but clearly Comcast wants to keep pace on the PR front, Smit making sure employees knew they'll offer 305 Mbps just to make sure they one-up Verizon. One problem is that Comcast isn't really utilizing upstream channel bonding to its full capability yet, so it will be interesting to see just how close to 65 Mbps Comcast can get on the upstream side of the bar. Comcast upstream bonding tests last year were able to achieve 75-100 Mbps.

Consumer groups (and apparently the DOJ) have worried that Comcast's new marketing and spectrum deal with Verizon will reduce the incentive both companies have to seriously compete with one another on the landline broadband front. Whether triggered by the deal or not, Verizon has been hiking prices for FiOS services (both TV and broaband) over the last year, while eliminating many of the more aggressive introductory promotions that target cable competitors like Comcast and Cablevision.

Playing higher speed niche audience marketing patty cake keeps up appearances on the competitive front to appease regulators reviewing the deal, even if both companies are less willing than ever to actually compete on price. We'll post more detail on the faster 305 Mbps tier when we get it.

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