Comcast To Expand 505-Meg Broadband Service: Source

Following its initial launch in the northeastern U.S., Comcast is getting ready to launch a fiber-based 505 Mbps (downstream) residential service in select cities in its Central Division a source familiar with the rollout plan said.

Comcast will start to promote the tier, called Extreme 505, in Chicago, Atlanta and Miami as soon as next week, followed by a more formal launch in April, the source said. Comcast said it has “nothing official to announce at this time” when asked about its plans to roll the speedy tier to more markets.

With DOCSIS 3.1 and its promise to bring multi-gigabit speeds to the HFC plant still out on the horizon, Comcast is using its fiber-based Metro Ethernet platform, typically used for business customers, to power the residential-focused Extreme 505 service. Comcast launched it in the fall of 2012, starting out with speeds that topped out at 305 Mbps down by 65 Mbps upstream for $299.95 per month.

Comcast, which introduced the uncapped service first in its Northeast region, upgraded Ultimate speeds to 505 Mbps down by 100 Mbps upstream last September, enabling it to keep pace with Verizon FiOS’s fastest residential tier, which tops out at 500 Mbps down/100 Mbps up.

According to the source, Comcast’s Extreme 505 package in the initial set of Central Division markets will sell for $399.95 per month, plus an additional $19.95 per month for the router, and a three-year contract. Extreme 505 subs also get access to a dedicated customer care team, and the MSO’s Constant Guard Security Suite.

It was not immediately known when Comcast planned to expand the 505-Meg tier to other Central Region systems, including those in parts of Michigan, Indiana, Tennessee and North Carolina.

Coincidentally, word of the new tiers is spreading soon after Google Fiber considers a significant expansion that could see it cross swords with Comcast in several markets.