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Comcast Launches Superfast Internet To Fight FiOS 209

jfruh writes "Comcast customers who dream of superfast download speeds drooled when they heard the company would be offering 305 Mbps service. There's only one catch: the high speeds are only available in markets where the cable giant is going head-to-head with Verizon's FiOS service. It seems that competition really does improve service quality when it comes to ISPs."
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Comcast Launches Superfast Internet To Fight FiOS

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  • Yeah, right... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 26, 2012 @10:32AM (#40776991)

    So you can hit your level cap even faster?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Maybe not - "Crucially in markets which are not part of its trial, the company will suspend enforcement of its current 250 GB cap." The test is here [].

      Get it while the getting is good. Looks like the buffet is back.

      • Re:Yeah, right... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Catbeller ( 118204 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @11:15AM (#40777619) Homepage

        Subject to their terms of service - and whims. And they will reinstate the caps after the suckers sign on for a few years. Come on, we've seen this so many times now, we know how the heroin trade works. First shot is free, then the price goes up forever after they are the only game(s) in town.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by cpu6502 ( 1960974 )

        Dear AC: The article you linked has NO relevance to the Comcast v. FiOS competition and increase of rates to 305 Mbit/s.
        The article you linked is old news (May) and about usage-based billing ($/gigabyte) in two test cities and a completely-separate issue from the ultrafast internet Comcast is introducing to fight FiOS.

    • Re:Yeah, right... (Score:4, Informative)

      by 19thNervousBreakdown ( 768619 ) <davec-slashdot&lepertheory,net> on Thursday July 26, 2012 @10:40AM (#40777105) Homepage

      With a 250GB cap, you can run out of bandwidth in 1 hour, 49 minutes, and 17 seconds. Even at a terabyte it's less than 8 hours, or about 1% of a billing period.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by magarity ( 164372 )

      They are hoping anyone who makes enough to afford the $300/mo isn't sitting at home using it often enough to hit the cap.

    • by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @11:19AM (#40777679)

      Never happy.
      Comcast is offering 300 Mbit/s which is faster than Sweden or Japan's national average (~20 Mbit/s), and yet still you complain. This rollout will put my state Maryland, which is almost exclusively Comcast territory, in the top 10 fastest of all EU or US states.
      And all you can do is complain.
      Personally it makes me happy.

      • by pla ( 258480 )
        And all you can do is complain.


        Yet another rollout of unicorns and rainbows to people living somewhere that Comcast can cheaply and conveniently serve. Woo-hoo.

        Meanwhile, let me know when I can get even lowest-of-the-low tier DSL or cable internet in my area (not urban, but not exactly the middle of nowhere either).
      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        If an 'offer' is made that cannot possibly be used by anyone, it is no offer, it's a gimmick.Blistering fast networking for an hour followed by being disconnected, charged out the wazoo or throttled to dialup speed for the rest of the month is worse than useless. You'd actually be better off with 1/10th the download speed so you would have time to realize you were about to burn a whole month's allotment.

        Broadband providers COULD provide reasonable and worry free service by setting a committed rate per custo

  • by sacdelta ( 135513 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @10:34AM (#40777033)

    So you get 305 Mbps during the 15 minutes out of the day when they aren't throttling. What is it the rest of the time? Speeds should have to be reported as average access speed not peak potential.

    • by Desler ( 1608317 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @10:37AM (#40777069)

      Not that I like Comcast but how exactly do you expect Comcast to do that when the average speed is highly dependent on the ever changing network utilization? The only thing they can really guarantee is peak rate and the bare minimum.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        How do power and water companies do it? They key is to not oversell your product by such a huge margin, but in the BS numbers game that ISPs play, that's simply not an option.

        • If you suddenly had to pay for every bit you used like you do with power and water, I bet you'd long for the days of fixed fee with caps/throttling.
    • by brainzach ( 2032950 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @11:33AM (#40777901)

      Comcast average connection speeds are faster than their advertised rates. []

    • My car gets 60 mpg going UPhill. (It's a 2-door honda insight.) 90mpg on the long flat interstate. I love this car and wish Honda had not stopped making it.

      I also wish Ford would import its 60mpg diesel Focus from Europe, or Volkswagen its 70mpg Polo, but for some reason they don't think Americans would like it, so we don't get the option. :-(

      • My car gets 60 mpg going UPhill. (It's a 2-door honda insight.) 90mpg on the long flat interstate.

        Sure. Just like that Mac you bought in 2004 had a 400MHz processor.

        "The 2000 Insight ranks as the most efficient United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certified gasoline-fueled vehicle ever, with a highway rating of 61 miles per US gallon (3.9 L/100 km; 73 mpg-imp) and combined city/highway rating of 53 miles per US gallon (4.4 L/100 km; 64 mpg-imp)". []

    • That's not how it works. You are only throttled when you exceed more than 10% of a given plant's line capacity in comparison to other subscribers. Remember, HFC with DOCSIS is a shared network medium, not a switched network medium, so it's not hard for one customer to actively diminish the experience of other users. For example if there are 10 timeslots available and user A is using 90% of them despite other users, those other users will begin to notice increased latency in any data they transmit. This also
      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        Sure, the rate has to be appropriately controlled so everyone gets fair usage. So what's the deal with caps on transfer? All of the costs in networking are proportional to rate, not transfer.

        • That part I'm not 100% clear what the business motivation is (I'm an engineer). On one hand it sucks, on the other, at least we don't sell it as "unlimited internet access" like most of the ISP's do.
    • You're fastest connection based on the slowest link. How can you hold Comcast to an average access speed when you don't have a reliable metric of the average access speed of the websites and media services you're trying to access?

  • One step further (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sarten-X ( 1102295 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @10:35AM (#40777051) Homepage
    Competition not only improves quality, but it's the only reason this is being deployed at all. Providers' repeated claims that they should be allowed to merge because they'd innovate anyway is now demonstrated yet again to be utter bullshit.
  • by alen ( 225700 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @10:37AM (#40777071)

    i'm at 10-15 now and going down to 5 once i cancel cable and go a la carte cable internet. 3-5 megabits is enough to stream netflix and amazon.

    a lot cheaper to let steam update at night than to pay for super fast internet too

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      i'm at 10-15 now and going down to 5 once i cancel cable and go a la carte cable internet. 3-5 megabits is enough to stream netflix and amazon.

      a lot cheaper to let steam update at night than to pay for super fast internet too

      It depends on what you do with your home internet. If all you do is some Netflix streaming and web surfing then 3-5 down is plenty and your upload speed really won't matter. I work from home myself so I typically get the fastest internet speed I can. I don't need super fast internet all the time, but when I'm moving a lot of data between my home office and the main office I can see the difference and it affects my working day. More-so with upload speed than download speed. I've currently got a 50/5 pac

    • This may totally blow your mind, but other people sometimes have preferences that differ from yours.

      I only have a limited number of hours in the day with which I can even think about playing a game. I don't want my bandwidth to be the limiting factor anymore than it already is.

    • by Orga ( 1720130 )

      Arrrrrr Matey, I max out my 20Mbps connection all day.

    • by BZ ( 40346 )

      TFA, which you may have read, talks about working from home.

      If you work from home, that often means moving large amounts of work data back and forth. It's common for me to want to grab a 40MB chunk of data on short notice and be blocked on work until it comes down. At that point, 25Mb (13 seconds) is way better than 5Mb (65 seconds, you're likely to go read webcomics and so forth). 300Mb would be 1s, which is _really_ good because it doesn't interrupt your workflow at all.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      I don't need it - I just want it. I have 60/60 today and going up from 25/5 was pure luxury, but it's the whole "there's plenty bandwidth for everything, all the time no matter how much I'm doing at once" and it cuts down on all download waiting times. For example if I suddenly decide to play an old game Steam has the nasty habit of telling me there's a new huge required patch and I can't play until it's downloaded. With 60 Mbit that's maybe 5 minutes of waiting instead of 60 minutes with 5 Mbit. It's caref

    • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 )

      10MBit isn't quite enough for me.

      I just finally upgraded from a DOCSIS 1.1 modem to a DOCSIS 3 modem because the 10MBit it allowed wasn't quite enough. I now get roughly 2x that throughput, depending (I'm on a 35Mbit/5Mbit line). I work from home, my wife is a stay-at-home mom, and my 3 children are Internet-capable home schoolers, and the throughput is more than sufficient for concurrent streaming of media (2x netflix + multiple pandora, at times) while doing other things.

      Do you know what isn't sufficient?

  • Of course (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Thursday July 26, 2012 @10:39AM (#40777095) Homepage

    I don't think anyone doubted that competition between ISPs improves service. The question is more about whether there is *enough* competition, or even whether there could ever be enough.

    Right now, in most places, there's a duopoly if you're lucky. Where I live, in NYC, I have no real choice. It's basically Time Warner Cable or dial-up. In order to have a robust market, I'd say you need at least 5 real ISPs going head-to-head, but you would never be able to get 5 different companies to lay down 5 different and independent infrastructures in my neighborhood.

    So it makes sense that Comcast isn't even bothering to roll this out except where they're competing with FIOS. So, absent competition, what do we do?

  • by sa666_666 ( 924613 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @10:41AM (#40777129)

    Of course this is only available where it absolutely needs to be; where they're being hammered from competition. Meanwhile, other markets are left to be price-gouged as long as possible. This only proves that they have the ability to upgrade the network, they just won't until they're dragged kicking and screaming. Of course many businesses have that attitude, but it isn't often so obviously apparent as in this case.

    • s/price-gouged/profitable/

      Seriously, it's not like ISPs are some of the most profitable businesses in the world (and even if they were, that's still good as it would attract capital). Keeping a competitive price is probably just what they have to do to minimize losses, until they can find a better solution.

      • by Cerium ( 948827 )

        So you think it's perfectly reasonable to be charged $70/mo for what CenturyLink is calling 1.5mbit DSL (speed tests show closer to 756k)? I'm sure my parents would love something cheaper, but the only other options are dial-up for $20-30/mo, or satellite w/dial-up uplink for roughly the same price as they pay for almost-broadband.

        If that's not price gouging...

        (Oh, another fun fact regarding their situation: CenturyLink currently has no plans to upgrade the area, as per their local coordinator in charge of

  • Of course... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AngryDeuce ( 2205124 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @10:42AM (#40777145)

    Amazing what a little competition can do. It was never about them being unable to bring people these speeds, or it being cost prohibitive...they just don't want to spend the fucking money until they're losing more customers than they're signing up in a given quarter. I've had techs from my ISP, Charter Communications, basically tell me that my local node is way oversaturated due to this being a very densely populated area, and that the main hardware is complete crap, but that corporate isn't going to upgrade until the amount they're spending on service calls exceeds the cost of upgrading the node. You know it's fucked up when the company's own fucking techs are exasperated enough to start telling customers shit like that...

  • by Catbeller ( 118204 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @10:48AM (#40777233) Homepage

    So we can reach our bandwidth cap in, what, five minutes? Unless it is a Genuine Comcast Internet Content, of course - bandwidth doesn't seem to matter then.

    Fastest to the finish line is useless when the finish line is five feet away from the starting line.

    Munis should build the infrastructure and operate as non-profits. Shut the telecoms and cable conglomerates down - they are bringing the internet age to a grinding crawl. Internet isn't cable, and it should't be operated for a profit any more than the street system.

    • Munis should build the infrastructure and operate as non-profits. Shut the telecoms and cable conglomerates down - they are bringing the internet age to a grinding crawl.

      I propose a compromise. The Muni's should seize all the lines (cable/fiber) and lease it back to any ISP that wants to provide service. Viola competition.

    • by faedle ( 114018 )

      I'm not sure letting local governments run the infrastructure is much better. For example, I can imagine many cities (especially in the US Southeast) would censor the hell out of the connection, and you think the cable/phone companies give the police a lot of access to the network for monitoring? Imagine what would happen if the PD and the infrastructure people have the same boss.

      No thanks. The system we have sucks, but it could be a LOT worse.

    • If this package is indeed capped, it is just as stupid and sad as the 5GB caps on 4G wireless data plans.

      If my sleepy math is right, you reach the old 250GB cap in a little less than 2 hours and the rumored new 300GB cap in a little over 2 hours. If they stick with the proposed 10$ per 50GB overage charge, you can enjoy paying about $25/hr to use your 305Mb/s connection after the first 2 hours.

    • Internet isn't cable, and it should't be operated for a profit any more than the street system.

      An analogy with highway tolls comes to mind, and it scares me. Highway tolls can get diverted to other public works projects []. Government could gouge us for Internet access just as easily as a private monopoly could, and I am sure they would think of all kinds of "wonderful" uses for that new revenue.

  • 305Mb/s ... i doubt it.

    I have 16/1 service (+tele +mobile phone) for 20€/mo and most of the time it maxes out at 12-15Mb/s and 800Kb/s.

    Not only will you probably never be near 300Mb/s, you'll probably pay huge amounts/mo as well


    • With Comcast... I doubt it.

      But with Fios, the weird thing is you often get even higher speeds than they advertise... and in general you actually get the speeds you SHOULD be getting. So long as the website/server you're accessing can handle it.

      Comcast though: we hardly ever got that close to what they promised. And DSL... we were usually in the same boat as you: averaging 80% of their promised speeds.

      But since we went to FIOS, I'm actually content with the speeds we're getting.

  • Comcast competes with Verizon in my area and their prices are essentially identical.

    When Verizon said they were going to come in to my area, the head honcho explicitly states they were not going to compete on price. And they haven't.

    If Comcast really wants to compete with Verizon they would lower their prices while increasing their speeds. As we have seen on several articles here, the U.S. ranks at the top of the industrialized world for cost of broadband and almost at the bottom for speed of broadband.


  • Unless they do something about their sky-high prices, I'll stick with the telocos.

  • Maybe they'll actually provide service that's worth a damn, too. Can't believe I'm saying that about Verizon, the corporate successor to the "tough luck" telephone company GTE, but there it is.

  • Marginal Returns (Score:4, Insightful)

    by organgtool ( 966989 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @10:59AM (#40777391)
    At this point, I feel that internet speed is more than fast enough for most of my purposes. My FIOS subscription was just upgraded from 15 Mbps to 75 Mbps without any additional cost, but I would have preferred to stay at 15 Mbps at a reduced price. Unfortunately, the sales person claims that they only offer speed upgrades for the same price, but there is no option for paying less. For those that want the extra speed, I think it's great that options like this are available (at least in limited markets), but for those who don't need the speed it would be nice to have a more reasonably priced option. It's funny how telecommunications seems to be the one sector where improvements in technology never result in cheaper prices. I guess that's what happens when companies are granted local monopolies.
    • by Dog-Cow ( 21281 )

      If you were willing to pay $X for speed Y, you are willing to pay the same $X for Y*Z. There's no reason for Verizon to cater to your desire to keep speed Y fixed and have $X fluctuate.

      • There's no reason for Verizon to cater to your desire to keep speed Y fixed and have $X fluctuate.

        Since there's virtually no competition in this market, you are absolutely correct. At this point, their only objective is to be slightly less shitty than the little competition they have and they are barely pulling that off.

      • If you were willing to pay $X for speed Y, you are willing to pay the same $X for Y*Z.

        * For values of Z > 1.

  • It seems that competition really does improve service quality when it comes to ISPs.

    No, it just means that they spends wads of cash going for "look at me, look at me" meaningless specmanship games, which the consumer eventually pays for. Raw speed != quality.

  • It seems that competition really does improve service quality when it comes to ISPs.

    Connection speed and "service quality" are not the same thing.

  • The hand of God needs to smack down telecommunication monopolies, regardless if you call your god Apple or Google

  • Now we see why they fight so hard not to have to compete. Rolling out new equipment is hard, buying a cable monopoly from the local government is easy, and you can charge $40/month for the same crap service forever.

  • Since this is Comcast, this just means you'll be able to transfer more data between your sporadic internet connections.
  • Last I heard, Verizon was trying to get out of the business of anything with physical pipes - including "stabilizong" it's FIOS business. They'd rather go for the exorbitant profits of wireless. []

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      Verizon dumped their land line service in my area (soon after installing FiOS). Its now owned and operated by Frontier Communications [].

      • by dpilot ( 134227 )

        I'm a Verizon landline dumpee as well. In our case, we're now FairPoint customers.

        The news from me to that ArsTechnica article is that Verizon is no longer pursuing FIOS, either. They haven't sold it, and they're still running it, but they're not pushing new rollouts, either.

        I got Comcast cable long before DSL became available to me. Recently /. ran a story on the "National Broadband Map" that led me to believe that a local CLEC would be an option for me. But somewhere between my house and the CO, there

    • That's what I heard as well... but then last month or so they announced their "Quantum" FIOS service which offers packages up to 300MBit. So... I don't know if they reversed their decision (again) or are just opening up the pipes they already laid (and are still not laying more).

  • I have 100Mbps service with Charter and find that many (most?) sites cannot or do not deliver content at that speed. Some clearly do (like Steam), so I know I am getting 100Mbps service, but for the most part this speed doesn't "feel" much faster than the 40Mbps I had before.
  • Google launches its fiber service, $70 for bi-directional 1Gbps.
  • I read the announcement yesterday and that just isn't accurate. What they are doing is doubling the speeds of their top 3 internet tiers 25 to 50, 50 to 100, and 100 to 300. It will happen in every docsis 3 area they are just doing it in the northeast FIRST.

  • Drooled? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @02:08PM (#40780711) Journal

    What legal purpose would 300 Mbps to the household serve for most people? I am a FIOS customer, but I have it provisioned at the minimum bandwidth for cost reasons. Nevertheless, I can work from home, my wife and kid can do Netflix (two different tvs) all at the same time, and I can torrent the latest version of CentOS in less time than it takes to hunt up a disc to burn it to. These monstrous bandwidths are, for an overwhelming percentage of the population (or even an overwhelming percentage of geeks) only for bragging rights. Not to actually use. It's just a faster way to slam up against Comcast throttling.

    I was a charter customer of FIOS. What it buys me is (1) investing in a higher tech medium which I still believe is the wave of the future (fiber to the home) and (2) (this is important) I don't have to deal with Comcast customer support.

    And... I have to add (3) it's fun to watch the Comcast monthly door-to-door salesperson go all wonky when we tell them we're sticking with FIOS. Although, I haven't seen him since I reported him for yelling at my wife the last time.

    Ahh, Comcast. If any company deserved to by purchased and dismantled, it would be you.

    • 4K video - without fiber, not possible. Also, Netflix in 720 or 1080 isn't really possible without gigabit pipes and no bandwidth caps. Right now it looks like 1996 wants its videos back.

  • The problem with talks about competition is this: in order to trigger the sort of competition that caused Comcast to make this move is that you need someone to make the massive infrastructure investment necessary to lay the fiber, build the system, etc. Even if you freed up a market, there are not a lot of investors who have the money and experience. Assuming you find an investor, there are probably only a limited number of markets that have the sufficient population density to make it a profitable ventur
    • Municipalities are the only possible solution for laying cheap, no-profit fiber to everyone's homes. They do it with water and power; exactly as you say, private water and power companies wouldn't cut it - too much outlay for too little return. That's why the Tennessee Valley Authority did what Edison wouldn't. No munis, no gigabit for everyone.

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