Comcast announced a new multi-gigabit broadband strategy today, with faster download and upload speeds launching in several markets, with accompanying gigabit-capable Wi-Fi service.
Comcast calls this the nation’s largest multi-gigabit network expansion, with 50 million homes being targeted by the end of 2025. Upgrades of speeds of up to 2 Gbps on the download, and a 5-10x increase in upload speeds are already underway, with initial launches in 3 markets including Colorado Springs, CO; Augusta, GA; and Panama City FL.
These upgrades will continue in a “regular cadence” throughout the year, reaching 34 markets by the end of 2022, the company announced. A Comcast spokesperson confirmed to Telecompetitor that the initial new offer includes a 2 Gbps down/200 Mbps up service tier with a non-promotional price point of $120/month (although it varies by region).
The initial effort is part of a broader transformation by Comcast that will see the cable broadband operator able to offer symmetrical multi-gigabit services as it moves to DOCSIS 4.0, a cornerstone of the cable industry’s 10G initiative.
Comcast says it will begin that 10G transformation in 2023, giving it those capabilities next year in select markets.
“We’re making our network even smarter and faster, which allows us to quickly deliver true multi-gig WiFi to tens of millions of businesses and residential consumers at an unprecedented pace,” said Charlie Herrin, President of Technology, Product, Experience at Comcast Cable in a press release. “Whatever the application, whatever the future holds, our network and world-class, whole-home Wi-Fi experience will be there and ready to power all of our customers’ connected experiences.”
The cable industry is under pressure to meet the competitive challenge coming from fiber operators who can offer symmetrical multi-gigabit service now. Like other major national providers, Comcast is already feeling this competitive heat. The company saw no growth in broadband during 2Q22, a first since it began offering internet service.
Laying the Foundation
Comcast has been steadily laying the groundwork for this multi-gigabit strategy. It’s deployed a Distributed Access Architecture (DAA) with a virtualized CMTS that more easily allows for network upgrades.
“With it, rather than maintaining, updating, and replacing traditional analog network appliances by hand – which can take days or even weeks – Comcast engineers can reliably maintain, troubleshoot, and upgrade core network components almost instantly, with a few keystrokes on a laptop or mobile app,” the company touts in its press release.
That virtualized DAA infrastructure helps prepare it for these initial upgrades as well as laying the foundation for the 10G transition to come.
“10G will deliver so much more than just speed,” said Comcast’s EVP & Chief Network Officer Elad Nafshi. “The digitization and virtualization work we are doing today is already enhancing our customers’ connected experiences and delivering better performance.
Comcast also outlined its Wi-Fi strategy to accompany this multi-gigabit transition. That strategy includes deploying wi-Fi 6E capable gateways, which can accommodate gigabit speeds.