Cablecos continue to raise the broadband standard to speeds that telcos will have to match.
Comcast said it has gigabit-capable DOCSIS 3.1 broadband service in Detroit – 1 Gbps down, 35 Mbps up for $70 a month for subscribers that take a three year contract – month-to-month is $140 per month. The $70 price matches the $70 price that Google Fiber offers in locations where it has built all-fiber networks – except that Google Fiber offers 1 Gbps up and down. Comcast said it has “the advanced technology in place to meet the growing demand” for bandwidth and plans to roll the new service to surrounding metro areas and across Michigan in 2017.” Comcast said in March that it will offer DOCSIS-based gigabit service in parts of Nashville, Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit and Miami this year – and then ramp up its deployments in 2017. Its Web site says that future gigabit broadband deployment will include Seattle, Chicago, Nashville, Salt Lake City, Knoxville, Portland, Atlanta and others. The Bay Area, San Jose, Denver, Salt Lake City, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Knoxville and Jacksonville are on Comcast’s 2017 list.
Kyle McSlarrow, regional SVP for Comcast in the Northwest said, “We have made significant technology and network deployments, which will allow us to deliver some of the fastest Internet speeds without our having to tear up streets or rewire a customer’s home.”
DOCSIS 3.1 allows cablecos such as Comcast to use their existing hybrid fiber/coax networks and residences’ coax network instead of installing fiber all the way into the residence. Major telcos, except for Verizon, seem to be mainly focused on fiber to a neighborhood or MDU and then using G.fast over existing phone wires – a network architecture that does not currently offer gigabit service.
Comcast is very familiar with all-fiber networks. It has been offering its all-fiber Gigabit Pro in Seattle since May 2015, but it can be installed only by a Comcast-trained technician. The DOCSIS 3.1 gigabit service only requires a DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem so that anyone that lives in Comcast’s 3.1 footprint can get a modem and call Comcast to upgrade. There is a big price difference too. The all-fiber Gigabit Pro costs about $300 per month. By way of comparison, Comcast sells its 100 Mbps service in Seattle for $89.95 per month.
Incumbent telco CenturyLink offers a gigabit service in some parts of Seattle but requires subscribers includes telephone service for a total of about $130 per month.