Comcast’s DOCSIS 3.0 Twin Cities Rollout

When given the chance to be one of the first two companies in the Twin Cities to receive an install of Comcast’s new DOCSIS 3.0-driven high speed service (50 megabits per second download speed and 5 megabits per second upload!), do you think they had to ask twice?

If you haven’t heard of DOCSIS 3.0 (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification) and don’t know why this is important, it’s the next generation of cable standards for delivering data over cable with theoretical speeds between 170mbps and 340mbps download with uploads speeds of 120mbps.

Comcast indicated that the Twin Cities is their first market to deploy DOCSIS 3.0 technology and is a clear demonstration of how the company is evolving from broadband to wideband. Its also just the beginning of even faster speeds to come, they claim, but my 50/5 internet speed isn’t any demo….it’s real, working and fast.

My experiences thus far have been amazing. When we first started to use it after the install, I broke into a huge grin as pages loaded instantly and I ran a 345MB update which hit my downloads folder and completed in what seemed like two minutes (it actually downloaded so quickly I forgot to watch it and time it). I’ve been achieving ~40mbps down and 3.4 to 4.1mbps upload speeds on average (which, of course, are dependent upon so many variables like internet traffic, server load and so on) so multi-use of our broadband connection has become more useful.

Our business (and yours too, I’ll wager) now depends on the internet in the same way 20th century business depended on the phone and then the fax machine. Speed is money and with more of our applications in the “cloud” (i.e., hosted Web applications), an accelerating number of us living an always-on and always-connected lifestyle, coupled with the need to move ever bigger digital files to one another over the ‘net, I’m delighted to have access to this kind of speed and am already fully utilizing it.

One thing most small businesses miss when they begin to use all of these new online services and applications: you run out of bandwidth very, very fast. Now that we’re delivering webinars, are using webcams, Skype, and Vonage in the office, we’ve been noticing that our need for bandwidth to satisfy all users of our connection has increased dramatically in the last six months. I believe that our ability to have sufficient bandwidth for all of these activities simultaneously has become a business imperative.

Comcast’s press release said this about this rollout and its impact for Minnesota: “These announcements propel the Twin Cities region into one of the most advanced high-speed Internet communities in the nation and showcase the power of Comcasts advanced digital, high-capacity fiber-optic network. Comcast has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the Twin Cities to create an advanced fiber-optic network that is flexible, scalable and ready to expand into the future. The result is an unmatched consumer and business experience that will continue to converge video, high-speed Internet and digital phone services with future applications like Universal Caller ID to the TV and PC, viewable voice mail and the ability to program DVRs remotely.”

If you already have Comcast business service, you’ll automagically get an upgrade, “Twin Cities region Comcast Business Class customers will also experience faster Internet access. For example, speeds for Comcast Business Class Enhanced tier customers have been doubled from 8 Mbps / 1 Mbps to 16 Mbps download / 2 Mbps upload. Faster speeds mean more power and a distinct competitive advantage for small-to-medium sized businesses.”

Besides more seamless communications in-office (no more choppy VoIP calls while others use the ‘net!), we’re installing an FTP server (a fixed IP address comes with this 50/5 account) so all our staff has to do is drag-n-drop files into a folder for client access…and our correspondents and photographers (many of whom are overseas) can upload files directly to our server making our entire workflow much more efficient.

We use a printer here in the Twin Cities as well as one in Dallas, TX and routinely move huge Zip’s to them with prepress files for our color publications. It always seems as though we’re right down to the wire and needing to quickly upload and transfer these files. In the past, watching the sloooow progress bar as a file uploaded is now no longer one that makes me slam my fists on the desk in frustration that it can’t upload faster!

We’ll also be accelerating our intranet wiki and making it available over the ‘net so our folks can access it from home. As a small business without an IT staff (the guy typing this post *is* the IT staff), having this big pipe will make us more efficient and I’m certain I’ll find other uses for it in the near-term.

NOTE: This post was published here at my other site, Minnov8.com,  after yesterday’s 5pm embargo.

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About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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