The gigabit tour rolls on.
Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) announced today that it will introduce symmetrical multi-gigabit broadband service to more than 1.3 million customers in southern Florida starting in May. While there are no details yet on pricing, Comcast said its Gigabit Pro service -- which uses fiber-to-the-home networks to deliver Internet speeds of up to 2 Gbit/s -- will debut in the Miami; Fort Lauderdale; West Palm; and Jacksonville regions. The company has also announced that it will launch Gigabit Pro in Atlanta next month and in California in June. (See Comcast Preps 2-Gig Service… Over Fiber.)
Ever since Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) kicked off the gigabit craze in Kansas City in 2012, service providers have been jumping on the bandwagon with gigabit deployments in targeted cities around the country. AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), for example, expanded into the Chicago area with its GigaPower service this week, adding to launches in the Austin; Cupertino, Calif.; Dallas; Fort Worth; Houston; Kansas City, Mo.; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; and Winston-Salem, N.C. markets.
CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL) also recently announced residential gigabit service in parts of Wisconsin, tagging on to deployments in Missouri; the Denver area; Las Vegas; Minneapolis-St. Paul; Omaha, Neb.; Orlando, Fla; Portland, Ore.; Salt Lake City; and Seattle.
In Comcast's case, Gigabit Pro will be available to anyone living in one of the launch cities and located within about a third of a mile of Comcast's existing fiber network. The strategy is different from the one pioneered by Google where individual neighborhoods must commit to a certain level of adoption before the company rolls out fiber-to-the-home service. (See Google Tweaks 'Fiberhood' Data.)
Comcast has also said it is aiming to reach 18 million households with its FTTH service by the end of 2015. The company expects to be able to use DOCSIS 3.1 technology to reach additional subscribers with gigabit service over its hybrid fiber coax networks in 2016.
While gigabit deployments are a positive sign, they aren't indicative of the average American's Internet experience. According to Akamai Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: AKAM)'s State of the Internet Report last month, only Virginia and Delaware boast average connection speeds above 15 Mbit/s. (See Average US Broadband Speeds No Great Shakes.)
— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading