Comcast has deployed mid splits to 25% of its base and is on track to have them deployed to one third of its base by year-end, said Comcast Chief Financial Officer Jason Armstrong on the company’s second quarter earnings call today.

Mid splits are an upgrade that enables customers to use 1.2 GHz of spectrum within the coaxial portion of the link, with a larger portion of the spectrum dedicated to the upstream path in comparison with earlier options. More upstream bandwidth has become an important goal for cable companies at a time when internet traffic is becoming less asymmetrical.

Comcast eventually plans to use a full-duplex approach, which makes a large portion of coax spectrum available for upstream or downstream communications. In response to an email inquiry from Telecompetitor, a Comcast spokesperson explained that the company is doing mid splits on the route to moving to full-duplex DOCSIS 4.0.

The company expects to begin deploying DOCSIS 4.0 in a “few short months,” Armstrong said. This will be an important element in meeting the company’s goal to begin offering symmetrical multi-gigabit speeds by year-end.

“We plan our networks and product capabilities to stay far ahead of demand to maintain our position as market leader,” said Armstrong, although he didn’t specify what he meant by “market leader.”

According to Armstrong, the number of locations to which Comcast offers broadband service increased 1.5% since last year and the company is on target to have 1 million new locations in 2023.

As a research note from MoffettNathanson noted today, Comcast broadband subscriber growth was essentially flat over the past year. Not surprisingly, Armstrong noted a different focus for Comcast.

“Our goal is to protect ARPU [average revenue per user],” said Armstrong regarding Comcast’s broadband strategy.

He noted, for example, that the average monthly data usage for customers who don’t take video service from Comcast is 700 gigabytes.

Accordingly, the speed tiers to which customers subscribe have been increasing.

Armstrong noted today that nearly three-quarters of customers are on speed plans of 400 Mbps or faster. That’s a jump from 50% last year and less than 20% in 2020, he said.

Dave Watson, president and CEO of Comcast Cable, noted on today’s call that one-third of Comcast customers take service at gigabit speeds and 75% or more take service at speeds of at least 100 Mbps.

The company now has 2 Gbps service available to 25% of its footprint, he said.

A replay of the earnings call is available at this link.

Updated to include information from MoffettNathanson

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