Pulling a fast one

Anyone using high-speed broadband knows that download speeds can’t be fast enough. The bigger the pipe, the faster the data flows into your computer. The Las Vegas pipe just got bigger. How big? How about 50 megabits per second big? That’s 892 times faster than a 56-kilobits-per-second dial-up modem of about a decade ago. I don’t know of anyone still using dial-up, but those who are surely aren’t watching Internet video or downloading much music or photos to their hard drives.

I got a live demonstration this afternoon of the new 50 mbps service that is available starting today from Cox Communications. For the speed test, the company set up three identical laptops side by side: one with a 1 mbps connection, one with a 10 mbps connection and one with the 50 mbps Ultimate Internet service. As you might imagine, the highest speed won each download race in almost comical fashion.

In the first test, a 25-megabyte folder holding a dozen digital photos was downloaded. The download times were:
50 mbps – 4 seconds
10 mbps – 5 seconds
1 mbps – 3 minutes, 10 seconds

The next test was a download of 100 megabytes of music files. The times were:
50 mbps – 16 seconds
10 mbps – 1 minute, 6 seconds
1 mbps – 12 minutes, 29 seconds

The final test was a 1.2 gigabyte video file of a 50-minute television program. The times were:
50 mbps – 3 minutes, 6 seconds
10 mbps – 14 minutes, 58 seconds
1 mbps – 2 hours, 33 minutes, 50 seconds

The final test was performed and recorded Tuesday, as today’s test showed more than four hours remaining on the download of the video file on the 1 mbps connection.

The 50 mbps service is five times faster than the 10 mbps offering, and 50 times faster than the 1 mbps. It is the fastest broadband service offered to residential customers in Nevada. Upload speeds area also increased, as Ultimate Internet customers will be able to upload files at 5 mbps, which is six times faster than the current 768 kbps uploads with the 10 mbps service.

Steve Schorr, vice president of public and government affairs for Cox Las Vegas, pointed out the advantages for online game players: they will be able to play multiplayer interactive games with live chat, watch online video and have several other browser windows working simultaneously.
"What this does is maximize the potential of the Internet," said Juergen Barbusca, Cox’s manager of communications in Las Vegas.

Barbusca added that some other Cox cable markets providers offer 100 mbps service in other markets, and which it will be offered in Southern Nevada when customers demand it.

Cost of the service for residential customers is $119.99 per month. Customers will need to upgrade their modem to a DOCSIS 3.0 model, which Cox sells for $99.99. The modems are also available at local electronics retailers for about the same price. I found them for prices between $76 and $96 from various online merchants by doing a search on bing.com.

Cox will continue to offer the 10 mbps and 18 mbps services for customers not needing the lightning-fast speed.

Business pricing for the 50 mbps service is $469.99 per month. Both sets of customers should call 702-967-3584 to arrange service and installation.

I vividly remember the day I upgraded my 28.8 kbps dial-up modem to the superfast 56 kbps model. I was amazed by the gain in speed. I was blown away when I first connected by cable modem at home, at speeds of 1.5 mbps, back in 1996. Wow, I thought, this is going to change everything.

No, today’s 50 mbps service is really going to change everything for those who enjoy the Internet’s every facet. This is a great start in this market. Barbusca whetted our appetites for even faster speeds in the future, as he pointed out that 160 mbps is being offered in the United Kingdom using the same DOCSIS 3.0 modem. I have a hunch I’ll be telling you about that service coming to our market before too long.

Learn more about the new Ultimate Internet service here: http://ww2.cox.com/residential/lasvegas/internet.cox


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