More Comcast (CMCSA) markets are getting the cable company’s fastest Internet offerings: Comcast says today it’s upgrading its Chicago, Atlanta, Baltimore, and Fort Wayne, Ind. markets to so-called “DOCSIS 3.0” before the end of the year.
What’s this mean? Subscribers will be able to purchase Internet service as fast as 50 Mbps download speed — which means downloading at up to 6.25 megabytes per second, about six times faster than typical cable modem speeds. (It’ll take some time to roll out in each market. But Comcast is getting to its goal of building out 20% of its network with the faster service by the end of the year.)
What’s the point? As phone companies like Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T) go after Comcast’s customers with fast, fibre-based Internet offerings, Comcast needs to keep up. This should help.
And the speed increases will make streaming HD content from Comcast’s new video rivals — Hulu, Apple’s (AAPL) iTunes, Netflix (NFLX), etc. — a much better experience. And it’ll help out content delivery networks like Akamai Technologies (AKAM), which has complained that most Americans don’t have fast enough Internet service available for HD video streaming.