After a slow start on the gigabit trail, cable operators are now pressing forward rapidly to deploy -- or at least promote -- new gigabit-per-second Internet services.
After Cox Communications Inc. became the first cable company to commit to a full rollout of gigabit services last year, the company announced Tuesday at the Internet & Technology Expo that it's now delivering gigabit Internet to customers in parts of Phoenix, Ariz.; Orange County, Calif.; Omaha, Neb.; and Las Vegas, Nev. It's also planning to expand the Gigablast service to parts of Arkansas, Louisiana, Rhode Island, Oklahoma and Virginia this summer.
"We started in Phoenix last fall, but we have not stopped there. We are excited to have the choice of gigabit speeds available to more customers today, and we're adding new building projects every month," said Cox President Pat Esser.
Meanwhile Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) CEO Brian Roberts teased the future of his company's gigabit services with the introduction of a new Gigabit Home Gateway, which he announced during his INTX keynote speech. Currently, Comcast is deploying gigabit Internet in select markets using a fiber-to-the-home strategy. (See Comcast Preps 2-Gig Service… Over Fiber and Comcast Takes Its Gig to South Florida.)
The new gateway, however, supports DOCSIS 3.1, which means it will facilitate gigabit-per-second speeds over legacy hybrid fiber coax networks.
The new gigabit gateway is also notable because it was designed to support a mix of video, WiFi and smart home services. It integrates software from PowerCloud -- a company that Comcast purchased in 2014 -- that gives users the ability to control how WiFi bandwidth is allocated to different devices. The gateway is also based on the new open-sourced RDK-B software stack. (See Comcast Sweeps Up PowerCloud and RDK Spreads Its Wings.)
Comcast hasn't revealed any partners that contributed to the new gateway, but has only said that the product was "developed by our teams here in Philadelphia and Silicon Valley." It's expected to be available in early 2016.
— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading