Comcast Counters Subscriber Slump With Speed

Comcast (s cmcsa) said this morning it plans to roll out its super-fast DOCSIS 3.0 network to 65 percent of its footprint by the end of 2009, and upgrade subscribers in those markets to a minimum speed of 12 Mbps down and 2 Mbps up at no charge wherever possible. Those subscribing to higher tiers will be upgraded to the Comcast’s Blast tier, which will offer download speeds to up to 16 Mbps and provide up to 2 Mbps of upload speed.

New tiers offered with the fatter pipes will include 50 Mbps of downstream speed and up to 10 Mbps of upstream speed for $139.95 a month, as well as 22 Mbps of downstream speed and up to 5 Mbps of upstream speed for $62.95 a month. Higher speeds will certainly help Comcast keep up with Verizon’s  (s VZ) FiOS deployments and will make downloading video a lot faster.

On its earnings call yesterday, Comcast CFO Mike Angelakis said the nation’s largest cable company expects to invest between $400 million and $500 million of capital for the DOCSIS 3.0 deployment and all-digital projects. He declined to break down the details of that spending, however. Comcast had upgraded 20 percent of its footprint to DOCSIS 3.0 at the end of 2008, and said on the call yesterday that it has installed DOCSIS 3.0 in 30 percent of its market.