CoxCox Communications today provided details about the plans for deploying gigabit broadband service that Cox CEO Pat Esser initially revealed in late April – and although Cox isn’t the first cable operator to announce gigabit broadband plans, it is inarguably the most ambitious.

According to an announcement released today, Cox plans to roll out gigabit Internet speeds across all of its markets nationwide, beginning with new residential construction projects and new and existing neighborhoods in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Omaha.

Today’s announcement says Cox “will begin market-wide deployment of gigabit speeds by the end of 2016.” Telecompetitor has asked for clarification about when Cox gigabit deployments will be completed and we will publish an update whenever we hear back from the company.

Cox also said it plans to double the speeds on its most popular Internet tiers for all customers this year. This includes customers that currently receive 25 Mbps and 50 Mbps service – and according to Cox, those two service tiers represent more than 70% of the company’s high-speed Internet customers.

“Cox has been the digital communications leader in our markets over the past two decades,” said Esser in today’s announcement. “We will continue to invest in our network and our product capabilities to help our customers connect to the things they care about most.”

Also today, Cox said it will expand Wi-Fi service to the Phoenix metropolitan area and Greater Las Vegas, and that it will offer Wi-Fi in common areas of “select new condominiums and apartments,” which also will be receiving gigabit service.

Telcos Need Gigabit More Urgently
Initially gigabit service was the exclusive domain of non-traditional communications service providers such as Google Fiber and utility company EPB. More recently telephone companies, driven in part by pressure from the non-traditional players, also have announced gigabit plans.

Cablecos generally have been less aggressive on the gigabit front – probably because their current DOCSIS-based offerings can easily support data rates in the hundreds of megabits per second range. In comparison, telcos such as AT&T and CenturyLink that rely on DSL for broadband max out at significantly lower speeds.

But although their need to upgrade may be less urgent, a few cable companies – including Bright House Networks, Comporium, GCI and Grande Communications — have announced plans to offer gigabit service. And in anticipation of more deployments, the cable industry has created the industry term “Gigasphere” for gigabit service based on DOCSIS 3.1 technology.

Cox did not immediately respond to an inquiry from Telecompetitor about whether its gigabit offerings would be based on DOCSIS 3.1 or another technology such as fiber-to-the-home.

UPDATE later May 22: A Cox spokeswoman confirmed that the company’s market-wide gigabit deployments would begin no later than year-end 2016 but the deployments wouldn’t necessarily be completed by that date. The company will use a combination of DOCSIS, GPON and active Ethernet to deliver gigabit service, the spokeswoman said.