Comcast has announced a new residential service, Gigabit Pro, that promises 2 Gbps for both uploading and downloading data, according to Ars Technica. That’s more than double the speed of Google’s high-speed fiber service. Gigabit Pro launches in Atlanta next month, beating Google’s and AT&T’s rollouts of fiber in the southern hub city, but while Google and AT&T both promise fiber at $70 per month, Gigabit Pro’s price point has not been nailed down. If Comcast’s prior top-tier residential Internet service–505 Mbps for $400-per-month–is any indication, Gigabit Pro will not be cheap.
Instead of Google’s practice of polling neighborhoods and installing fiber where it is in highest demand, Comcast is sticking to a steady rollout: For the past decade, Comcast told Ars Technica, it has laid more than 145,000 route miles of fiber cable through its existing service areas. This fiber root system is essential, since Gigabit Pro is only offered to residences that are less than a third of a mile away from its fiber cable branches.
Comcast hopes to spread Gigabit Pro from Atlanta across the country and put it in 18 million homes by the end of the year, the telecom giant said in a press release. But Comcast also hopes to upgrade its existing network to DOCSIS 3.1, a faster version of its Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification that can boost its current network (a combo of fiber and coax) to deliver gigabit speeds to homes, according to Comcast’s press release.
Any fiber is good fiber, and even if Gigabit Pro’s mystery price probably won’t be anywhere close to the $70-per-month tier that Google Fiber and AT&T are looking at, it recognizes consumer demand for gigabit Internet that Comcast itself demoed three years ago. It is unfortunate that it takes competition to push Comcast into action, especially given the infamous anecdotes of Comcast’s nightmare customer service. But until someone breaks the territorial telecom monopoly system, we have little recourse beyond hoping our ISP overlords eventually give us faster, more reliable Internet than our current deals that cost twice as much as French Internet at half the speed.
[via Ars Technica]