The Comcast Gigabit public relations machine is in full swing this week, with several new markets for their 2 Gigabit service, Gigabit Pro, announced for future roll outs. The new markets include parts of Utah, Colorado (Denver and Colorado Springs), Houston, Oregon, and Washington. Beyond announced markets, there is very little known about Comcast’s Gigabit Pro service and to my knowledge, not one paying residential customer has subscribed to the service.
Comcast Gigabit Footprint Expansion
These new Gigabit Pro markets join the previously announced markets of Atlanta, parts of California, Chattanooga, Chicago, parts of Florida and Nashville. As I previously noted, Comcast (and others) seem to be taking their time, or maybe avoiding altogether, Verizon FiOS markets with these Gigabit services. Comcast has committed to passing 18 million homes with the Comcast FTTH service by the end of 2015.
Very few details beyond these announced markets is known about Gigabit Pro. Comcast says that only homes “within close proximity of Comcast’s fiber network” will be eligible and they will “require installation of professional-grade equipment.” In practice, little is known about what that really means.
Is this a “fiberhood approach” like Google, where they will identify specific neighborhoods to target, or is it a case-by-case basis? Does the ongoing reference to “require installation of professional-grade equipment” translate to a high installation cost to the end customer?
The biggest glaring omission regarding Gigabit Pro details is its retail price. There was a leaked promotional website that displayed pricing of $299 for the service, but Comcast says that was inaccurate and final pricing has yet to be determined. Comcast will be competing with Google Fiber and AT&T in some of these announced markets, and established monthly pricing by them for 1 Gigabit service ranges from $70 to $110 or more.
Comcast also intends to deliver Gigabit Internet over its vast HFC network, using the forthcoming DOCSIS 3.1 standard. It’s currently testing that technology and says it will begin rolling it out in early 2016.
“When fully deployed, it will mean almost every customer in Comcast’s national footprint will be able to receive gigabit speeds over the existing network (a combination of both fiber and coax),” states Comcast in a press release announcing their Gigabit Pro expansion plans.