Comcast Expanding 2-Gigabit Internet Service to New Markets
Cable giant Comcast announced Thursday that it will be rolling out 2-gigabit symmetrical Internet service -- the same upload and download speeds -- to residential customers in several new markets beginning this summer. The service, known as Gigabit Pro, will be delivered via a fiber-to-the-home solution, and will target Knoxville, Tenn., Houston, Texas, the Twin Cities area as well as the states of Washington, Utah, Colorado, Oregon.
In addition, Comcast is launching Extreme 250, a new 250 Mbps Internet speed tier for customers. This change began rolling out May 19 and will continue throughout the year. Previously, the company had announced plans to roll out its Gigabit Pro service in Atlanta, California, Chattanooga, Chicago, Florida and Nashville, and said it plans to continue adding additional cities to that list throughout the year.
Download Speed Arms Race
Companies have practically been tripping over each other to announce new plans for gigabit-plus service to customers this year. Google helped jumpstart the arms race in January with the announcement that it would be bringing its super-fast service to 18 new cities.
Both Comcast and Time Warner Cable soon announced plans to introduce their own high-speed services for both residential and corporate customers. Time Warner Cable’s speeds, however, have so far not reached the gigabit level, while Google is offering only 1 gigabit symmetrical speeds. But with the ability to download high-definition movies in seconds, customers may not put a huge premium on the difference between its service and Comcast’s Gigabit Pro.
Under its latest plans, Comcast will make Gigabit Pro available to homes within close proximity of Comcast’s fiber network. The company will also require installation of professional-grade equipment. To date, Comcast said it has already built out more than 145,000 route miles of fiber across its service area to serve residential communities. The company said it plans to bring the gigabit-plus service to more than 18 million customers by the end of the year.
No Word on Price
However, Comcast has not said what the new plan will cost, which could prove a major factor if it has to compete with the likes of Google Fiber. But Comcast has indicated that it is willing to consider further improvements to network speeds and additional service plans.
Comcast has made significant investments in its fiber optic network over the last several years. The company said it has doubled the capacity of its network every 18 months. Additionally, the company has been delivering multi-gig Ethernet service to businesses since 2011.
The company said it is currently testing DOCSIS 3.1, a scalable 1 Gbps technology solution it plans to implement nationally and begin rolling out in early 2016. Once DOCSIS 3.1 is deployed, Comcast said it will be able to offer gigabit speeds to every customer in its existing network, both fiber and coax, throughout the country.