Gigabit Cities

Comcast Targets 6 New Gigabit Markets

In a series of rapid-fire announcements this morning, Comcast revealed half a dozen new regional targets for its Gigabit Pro broadband service.

Comcast's new Gigabit hit list includes the Twin Cities in Minnesota, the MSO's entire footprint in Utah, the Houston area, Oregon, parts of Washington and parts of Colorado. Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) also announced that it will launch a new Extreme 250 service tier in the same regions offering Internet speeds up to 250 Mbit/s. The rollouts are all expected to occur later this year.

The Gigabit Pro service beats out other Gigabit offerings by doubling symmetrical speeds to 2 Gbit/s. Using a fiber-to-the-home strategy, Comcast Corp. has previously said it will bring Gigabit Pro to Atlanta, parts of Florida, areas of California, the Greater Chicago region and parts of Tennessee, including Chattanooga. The company is aiming to extend availability of the service to 18 million homes by year's end. (See Comcast Preps 2-Gig Service… Over Fiber.)

Comcast VP of Network Architecture Rob Howald recently explained that the company's ability to deliver multi-gigabit speeds stems from the operator's fiber-deep strategy. With more than 145,000 route miles of fiber deployed across the country, Comcast has been able to shrink service group sizes in select markets down to only about 100 subscribers per fiber node. That gets customers very close to fiber termination and makes it relatively easy for Comcast to extend fiber to the home for households that want Gigabit Pro service. (See Comcast Goes N+0 in Gigabit Markets.)

The rollout of Gigabit broadband access networks is spreading. Find out what's happening where in our dedicated Gigabit Cities content channel here on Light Reading.

Even as Comcast has accelerated its Gigabit rollout plans, it still faces competition on several fronts from the likes of AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL) and Google Fiber Inc. Comcast hasn't announce pricing for its highest-speed services yet, but a promotional website discovered earlier this month suggested that Gigabit Pro would start at $299 per month. Comcast has since said the web pages were put up in error, and that no official price has been listed yet for the service.

Several municipal and non-profit institutions are also driving delivery of high-speed Internet services across the country, including EPB Fiber Optics in Chattanooga and UC2B in Urbana-Champaign, Ill., through its partnership with private company iTV-3. (See Chattanooga Charts Killer Gigabit Apps and Taking a Different Path to 1 Gigabit.)

Starting in 2016, Comcast has said it will also introduce Gigabit services over hybrid fiber coax networks using DOCSIS 3.1. At the Internet & Television Expo, the company showed off a new gigabit gateway it will use for D3.1 deployments. (See Comcast Readies D3.1 & RDK-B.)

— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading

mhhf1ve 5/26/2015 | 9:34:42 PM
hitting data caps even faster? Is Comcast going to completely disregard its proposed data caps at some point? Or will that come back -- and create Gigabit subscription tiers someday? The 250GB data cap Comcast isn't quite enforcing now would be presumably reached pretty quickly with a Gigabit service.
MikeP688 5/25/2015 | 10:17:24 PM
Re: Glad to see This....But.... It is not competitive at all--far from it.    It is,, right now, one of those "Nice to Have" gigs that probably will not see as massive as adoption.   I view it as fascinating that this is even in the cards at this stage--I can't help but wonder about this:  How much is enough?   
kq4ym 5/25/2015 | 8:09:21 PM
Re: Glad to see This....But.... I'm wondering how competitive the migh be if "Gigabit Pro would start at $299 per month." That seems steep to me and what would be the percentage of the market needed to make a profit on the investment?
MikeP688 5/24/2015 | 4:14:35 PM
Glad to see This....But.... As I read through this and welcome this commitment, they still have some fundementals they still need to address too as noted in this not so long ago: 

Can Comcast fix its customer-service problem? Comcast is hiring 5,500 customer-service workers as part of a "multi-year customer experience transformation," as well as adding tools to reduce wait times and simplify billing. Some of those strategies have been tried before by Comcast, without much success, notes Colin Lecher. "Comcast has a less than sterling track record when it comes to delivering on promises, especially when it comes to customer service," he writes. The Verge (5/5), CNET (5/5), Fortune (5/5)
DHagar 5/22/2015 | 12:29:12 PM
Re: Still Not Me KBode, that's good news!  Actually, that makes sense on the PR - and I am certain their earlier plans were assuming the merger, which would have brought in the west coast.  If they don't set up some "showcases", someone else might wake up and see the opportunity.
KBode 5/21/2015 | 5:28:55 PM
Re: Still Not Me They're claiming 18 million potential homes by year's end, and they seem to be announcing markets in a staggered fashion to maximize PR impact, so it's possible there's some west coast love in the lineup still. :)
DHagar 5/21/2015 | 5:09:27 PM
Re: Still Not Me Mitch Wagner, agreed.  They are discriminating against the west!  It definitely is an "uneven" rollout.  Now that Comcast is not pursuing the merger it looks like the west is left off the map. 
Mitch Wagner 5/21/2015 | 4:41:12 PM
Still not me Everybody in the US is going to have gigabit Internet before we do. Even these guys:

KBode 5/21/2015 | 3:50:56 PM
Re: A month too late for me What pricing did they promise you, Carol? Because so far (outside of a website leak) they've not specified just how much this new two gigabit service is supposed to cost.
cnwedit 5/21/2015 | 12:43:44 PM
A month too late for me When I called Comcast to tell them I was leaving and why (getting AT&T GigaPower) they said if I stayed I could have gigabit service from them also. But their pricing was a bit higher. 
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