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Charter Cranks Up DOCSIS To 75 Mbps For Businesses

Charter Communications' business services division is offering two ultra-fast broadband packages -- with up to 40 and 75 Megabits per second downstream, respectively -- in nine states.

The tiers are Extreme Power, with up to 75 Mbps downstream and 5 Mbps upstream, and Mega Power, with up to 40 Mbps down and 4 Mbps up.

The operator began selling the higher-speed tiers in early June, and has already signed more than 100 customers nationwide, according to Ross Bopp, director of the Central States region for Charter Business.

"We've listened to our customers, and they're all about faster speeds," Bopp said. "It's impossible for ILECs [independent local exchange carriers] to offer these kinds of speeds over DSL."

Charter is not disclosing pricing for the tiers, although Bopp said the 75/5 Extreme Power is roughly half the cost of a T-1, a dedicated telecommunications circuit that provides up to 1.5 Mbps. Both Extreme Power and Mega Power include enhanced desktop security as well as website and e-mail hosting.

On the residential side, Charter last year debuted Ultra60, which provides up to 60 Mbps down and 5 Mbps up, in St. Louis and other markets.

Charter Business continues to offer DOCSIS-based Basic Power (8 Mbps down/1 Mbps up), Super Power (16/2) and Turbo Power (25/3) services. The MSO's Optical Ethernet private networking service offers business customers connectivity speeds ranging from 10 Mbps to 100 Gbps, and its Fiber Internet services offer dedicated Internet access from 5 Mbps to more than 1 Gbps.

Extreme Power and Mega Power are currently available to communities served by Charter in California, Connecticut, Georgia, Nebraska, Nevada, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri and Tennessee.

Charter plans to have DOCSIS 3.0 deployed in about half its 27-state footprint by the end of 2010.

Bopp said the 75-Mbps tier is aimed at companies with up to 50 employees, adding that customers needing higher speeds are probably better candidates for Charter's Optical Ethernet service.

The customer-premises equipment the MSO is deploying for the new tiers is SMC Networks' D3G-BIZ, a DOCSIS 3.0 commercial cable modem gateway with four Gigabit Ethernet ports.