CES 2020: Comcast Pitches Free Cybersecurity to 18M Broadband Subs
As part of an ongoing effort to pack its residential broadband service with features beyond raw speed, Comcast said it will now give away an advanced cybersecurity service to about 18 million high-speed Internet subscribers that use qualified, cable operator-supplied gateways.
The decision comes roughly a year after Comcast introduced that product, called xFi Advanced Security and initially sold as a premium standalone for an additional $5.99 per month. Comcast said the new offer, which carries an annual value of almost $72, will be rolled out to eligible customers over the coming weeks.
Eligible gateways for the free cybersecurity addition include models equipped with Comcast's xFi-branded managed home network platform. Those include the XB6, XB3, a fiber-based gateway called the XF3, as well as Comcast's new multi-gigabit-capable XB7. Older Comcast gateways, such as the XB2, don't support the xFi platform.
xFi Advanced Security, a product that taps into Cujo AI's cloud platform, uses machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques to spot malware intrusions and potentially hacked IoT devices. Once threats are spotted, the system automatically blocks and contains any identified and suspicious activity and informs customers how to resolve those threats.
Customers will still have the option to disable the cybersecurity feature if they want, but integrating that product for no added cost builds on Comcast's initiative to differentiate its broadband service with value-based features and capabilities beyond speed and price, explained Dave Puckett, vice president of xFi and digital security at Comcast.
Other examples include the baseline xFi platform, which enables customers to manage their home WiFi networks, and Xfinity Flex, a new smart home/video streaming service that's now available for free to Comcast's broadband-only subs.
Comcast opens up about new DOCSIS 3.1 gateway
Comcast is also using this week's CES in Las Vegas to unveil its next-gen gateway, the XB7. As reported on first by Light Reading last month, Comcast's new gateway, built by Technicolor, will support multi-gigabit speeds on its DOCSIS 3.1 network, thanks in part to a 2.5Gbit/s Ethernet port. The device is also outfitted with WiFi 6 via four dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) antennas, and Bluetooth LE and Zigbee IoT radios.
The XB7 also comes with a switchable "mid-split" capability that supports legacy upstream bandwidth up to 42MHz and sets the stage for an upstream bandwidth expansion to 85MHz. The device will also integrate new low-latency capabilities that are now part of the DOCSIS 3.1 specs and will also be included in future DOCSIS 4.0 devices.
Comcast's current top-end broadband service delivered on its DOCSIS 3.1 hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) network delivers up to 1 Gbit/s (downstream) in tandem with its XB6 gateway. Comcast has not announced when it plans to offer a multi-gig D3.1-based broadband service, but has hinted at plans to offer a symmetrical 1Gbit/s broadband service on its D3.1 platform. Comcast currently uses fiber-to-the-premises technology in a targeted fashion for a symmetrical 2Gbit/s residential high-speed Internet service called Gigabit Pro.
- Comcast Drops WiFi 6 Into New DOCSIS 3.1 Gateway
- Comcast Offers Free Cybersecurity to Qualified Broadband Customers
- Comcast Uses AI to Clamp Down on Cyber Threats
- Service Providers Start to Lock In on IoT Security
- Comcast Tests 2.5-Gig Gateway
- Cable '10G' Field Trials on Tap for 2020
- CableLabs Unleashes Specs for Low-Latency DOCSIS
- CableLabs Kicks Off Pursuit of DOCSIS 4.0
— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading