Comcast Rolls Out Wideband Internet Service


The wideband service will be rolled out in the San Francisco Bay area of California, initially in Silicon Valley and in Monterey County. The higher speed service will be available in San Francisco and Oakland later in the year, Comcast said.

"Wideband utilizes our existing fiber-optic network in neighborhoods across our footprint," Steve White, senior vice president of Comcast's California region, said in a statement. "With this next generation of service, our customers' online experience is dramatically enhanced."

Business customers will be able to sign up for the Deluxe tier, providing 50 Mbps downstream and 10 Mbps upstream for $189.95 monthly. The company is also offering two new premium-speed tiers for residential customers: Ultra and Extreme 50.

Ultra provides users up to 22 Mbps of downstream speed and up to 5 Mbps of upstream speed at $62.95 per month. Users of Extreme 50 get up to 50 Mbps of downstream speed and up to 10 Mbps of upstream speed and pay $139.95 per month.

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Some critics wonder, however, whether users of Extreme 50 will get to actually go that fast for very long: Last year, Comcast admitted to throttling back speeds of peer-to-peer traffic. The peer-to-peer protocols included Ares, BitTorrent, eDonkey, FastTrack and Gnutella. That admission came after August's ruling by the FCC that the selective blocking of file-sharing traffic interfered with users' rights to access the Internet and to use applications of their choosing.