Comcast Speeding Up Its Broadband With 2-Gigabit Fiber Service

The new 2-Gigabit service, Gigabit Pro, will debut in Atlanta and then be expanded across the nation, with 18 million homes expected to be connected by the end of 2015.

Comcast, high-speed broadband, Gigabit Pro, 2Gbps broadband, Google Fiber

Comcast is launching new high-speed 2-Gigabit home broadband services across the United States starting in May in Atlanta as the company appears to be taking on Google Fiber's 1-Gigabit services, which have been spreading across the nation since the fall of 2012.

Comcast's Gigabit Pro residential services were announced by Marcien Jenckes, the executive vice president of consumer services for Comcast Cable, in an April 2 post on the Comcast Voices blog.

"The next great Internet innovation is only an idea away, and we want to help customers push the boundaries of what the Internet can do and do our part to inspire developers to think about what's possible in a multi-gigabit future," wrote Jenckes. "So, next month we will introduce Gigabit Pro, a new residential Internet service that offers symmetrical, 2-Gigabits-per-second (Gbps) speeds over fiber—at least double what anyone else provides."

That almost certainly is a dig at Google Fiber, which has been offering 1G-bps broadband speeds to consumers and businesses since its debut in Kansas City. Google Fiber began the installation of its 1G-bps fiber broadband and cable television services in Kansas City and they have continued to expand its availability across the nation, attracting the attention of other providers.

Comcast's move will likely raise the stakes even more in this faster-is-better world of residential Internet speeds.

"We'll first offer this service in Atlanta and roll it out in additional cities soon with the goal to have it available across the country and available to about 18 million homes by the end of the year," wrote Jenckes.

Gigabit Pro is aimed at providing residential fiber services over Comcast's fiber network, with the promise of 2G-bps upload and download speeds to customers who are close to fiber installations, wrote Jenckes. That means that customers who are not near expensive fiber deployments will not be able to get the new services.

Those customers, however, could benefit from another high-speed initiative that Comcast is developing simultaneously, wrote Jenckes. Also being worked on is DOCSIS 3.1, which will use existing coaxial cable to deliver 1G-bps high-speed Internet services to residential customers across the nation, bolstering speeds from Comcast's present speeds.

"We hope to begin rolling out DOCSIS 3.1 in early 2016, and when fully deployed, it will mean almost every customer in our footprint will be able to receive gigabit speeds over our existing network (a combination of both fiber and coax)," wrote Jenckes.

Pricing for the upcoming Gigabit Pro services has not yet been announced by Comcast.

In January, Google Fiber announced plans to bring its services to Raleigh-Durham, N.C., as well as to Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., and Nashville, Tenn. So far, the company has already introduced the service in Salt Lake City, Kansas City and Austin, Texas. Consumers in areas where the service is available can get gigabit-speed Internet service for between $60 and $70 per month and a TV and Internet bundle at starting prices ranging from $120 to $130.

In addition to the Raleigh-Durham area, Google over the next few months will lay thousands of miles of fiber in Portland, San Jose, Phoenix, Nashville and Atlanta. A total of 34 communities, or "fiberhoods," as Google calls them, in these nine metro areas are slated to receive Google Fiber as part of the company's initial gigabit Internet rollout.