Cablevision has fastest Internet speeds for cable

Cablevision Systems on Tuesday unveiled the fastest Internet speeds available from any cable or phone company.

Starting May 11, the Bethpage, N.Y.-based cable operator will offer speeds of up to 101 megabits per second downstream throughout its service area, and 15 megabits per second upstream.

That means a 4-gigabyte, high-definition movie can be downloaded in 5 1/2 minutes. It would take two minutes for a 1.6-gigabyte standard definition movie.

Cablevision, which has 3 million subscribers in the New York metro area, also plans to double the downstream speed of the Wi-Fi Internet service it offers at "hot spots" in New York's Long Island, Connecticut and Westchester County, and in parts of New Jersey.

Cablevision is in a race against Verizon Communications, which is rolling out its fiber-optic FiOS service in New York City.

At present, Verizon's top Internet speed is 50 megabits per second with a starting cost of $140 a month plus a free wireless router. Cablevision is offering its service at $99.95 a month.

The second-fastest Internet speed offered by a cable operator is up to 60 megabits from Charter Communications, available only in the St. Louis area. Charter, based in St. Louis, is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Philadelphia-based Comcast offers speeds of up to 50 megabits per second.

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