Comcast Preps Wideband in Fla.

Comcast's South Florida system said it is upgrading its network in preparation for a DOCSIS 3.0 rollout in 2009, while a corporate spokeswoman emphasized that the operator hasn't officially identified the markets where it will initially offer “wideband” high-speed Internet service.

The South Florida system, which serves Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties, said it increased the available capacity on its network by about 33% in the fourth quarter of 2007.

Using part of that freed-up capacity, the Florida system will be able to deploy DOCSIS 3.0, which bonds together multiple 6-Megahertz channels to provide download speeds of up to 100 Megabits per second.

Filemon Lopez, Comcast's regional senior vice president for South Florida, said in a statement: “With all the emphasis being put on streaming video and gaming, DOCSIS 3.0 provides a virtual superhighway of Internet speed for our customers that will be hard to match by any competitors in our market.”

However, Comcast senior director of corporate and consumer communications Jennifer Khoury said the company has not released specific details on when and where it will deploy services based on DOCSIS 3.0 first, or which connection speeds will be available. She noted that Comcast expects to have launched DOCSIS 3.0 service across 20% of its nationwide footprint by the end of 2008.

Comcast South Florida also last week announced it is in the process of adding six new high-definition channels in the region: Food Network HD, USA Network HD, History Channel HD, Discovery Channel HD, Animal Planet HD and Sci Fi HD.