Comcast had more than one surprise in store for today.
In addition to launching its radical new OTT Stream service, word has emerged that Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) has begun testing Gigabit Pro, its multi-gigabit Internet service, in numerous cities around the US. The service, which has been delayed in launching, has been much anticipated since Comcast originally announced it in early April. (See Comcast Preps 2-Gig Service… Over Fiber,)
The previously leaked pricing for Gigabit Pro is now confirmed at $299 per month. However, Comcast is offering a promotional price for the symmetrical 2 Gbit/s speed tier of $159 per month. That is still far above the cost of gigabit service offered by other broadband providers, including Google Fiber Inc. in Kansas City and other markets and EPB Fiber Optics in Chattanooga, Tenn., both of which charge $70 per month. (See Comcast 'Stream' Joins OTT Flood.)
Currently, Gigabit Pro is listed as being available in parts of Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Tennessee and California. Comcast has also committed to bringing the service to the Twin Cities in Minnesota, all of the MSO's footprint in Utah, the Houston region, Oregon and parts of Washington and Colorado this summer. (See Comcast Tees Up More Gigabit Markets.)
For the markets launched this year, Comcast will use fiber-to-the-home networks to deliver multi-gigabit service. However, the company has said it will extend gigabit tiers to all customers through deployments of DOCSIS 3.1, beginning in 2016. (See Comcast Preps 2-Gig Service… Over Fiber.)
Comcast has been extending fiber deep into its networks of late to support both higher Internet speeds and greater volumes of traffic. (See Comcast Goes N+0 in Gigabit Markets.)
It appears that the launch of Comcast Stream, which could boost the company's data traffic significantly, coincides nicely with the cable company's unveiling of its higher-capacity network services. We'll have more to say on that later.
— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading