Comcast DOCSIS 3.1 Gigabit Internet Service Coming To Five U.S. Cities This Year

Following a successful trial to a single customer's home in Philadelphia, Comcast is confident that it's ready to begin deploying the world's first DOCSIS 3.1-powered gigabit Internet service to several U.S. cities. The first of these will be Atlanta and Nashville, which will receive the upgrade in early 2016, followed by Chicago, Detroit, and Miami in the second half of the year.

Gigabit Internet, though relatively scarce, is far from new—companies like Google and AT&T have been expanding their fiber optic networks to offer business and residential customers 1Gbps downloads and uploads. But what's different about Comcast's DOCSIS 3.1 approach is that it doesn't require a new and costly fiber optic infrastructure, it's essentially an upgrade to existing cable technology.

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At the same time, Comcast continues to invest in fiber optic upgrades where feasible. In those places, Comcast offers its Gigabit Pro service, which offers customers simultaneous 2Gbps downloads and uploads.

"We’re constantly working to ensure that our customers get the fastest speeds available, and that they get them first," said Comcast Central Division President, Bill Connors. "DOCSIS 3.1 represents a tremendous step forward in our commitment to keeping customers at the technology forefront. Combined with all the upgrades we have already put into our advanced fiber optic-coax network, this technology will not only provide more gigabit speed choices for customers, it will also eventually make these ultra-fast speeds available to the most homes in our service areas."

Between DOCSIS 3.1 and fiber optic, Comcast is in position to rapidly roll out 1Gbps+ Internet services to more areas than the competition. DOCSIS 3.1 is particularly exciting because it works over existing connections—customers need only swap their cable modem for a DOCSIS 3.1 compliant one and sign up for the service. It should also be cheaper than the $300 Comcast charges for its Gigabit Pro service.