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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

July 20, 2009 at 12:25 PM

Qwest says 40 Mbps DSL coming, but where?

Qwest today announced that it’s boosting its network to provide up to 40 Mbps download speeds and 20 Mbps uploads, but don’t hold your breath waiting for the installation.

Qwest has a long way to go before it can say the superfast service is widely available.

In Seattle, Qwest’s previous generation service, providing a maximum of 7 Mbps, is now available to 40 percent of the company’s residential customers.

A spokesman said “tens of thousands of Seattle customers” will have access to the 40 Mbps service by the end of 2009 but couldn’t provide anything more specific.

The foundation of Qwest’s faster service began in April 2008, when it started spending $300 million to bring 12 to 20 Mbps service to 2 million customers by the end of 2008.

Qwest today is announcing an upgrade that will double the fastest speeds, using VDSL2 technology, which could go even faster, perhaps 100 Mbps or faster eventually. It said the VDSL2 upgrade “expands on” the upgrade reaching 2 million customers.

I don’t know where those 2 million customers are located, but I’ve heard that only tiny pockets of Seattle are getting 12 Mbps or faster, such as an area around Wallingford.

Until it’s widely available, Comcast will continue to basically have a monopoly on fast residential broadband in the city. It’s a little different in suburbs served by Verizon, which offers a 25 Mbps Fios service in some but not all of its territory.

Qwest’s release said it “has started to roll out these services on a limited basis in certain locations within its fiber-optic-fast Internet footprint, including Denver, Tucson, Salt Lake City and Minneapolis/St. Paul. In the coming months, Qwest plans to introduce these services to select areas within 23 markets, including markets in New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington.”

A spokesman said the Washington areas getting 40 Mbps will be parts of Seattle, Tacoma and Vancouver. Qwest has an online tool that will tell you what speeds are available at your house.

The introductory price for 40 Mbps downloads and 5 Mbps uploads $100 per month for 12 months, or $110 per month for 40 down and 20 up.

If you can get it.

Comments | More in | Topics: broadband, Broadband, dsl

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