Comcast is bringing high-speed, 2-gigabit fiber-based Internet services to the San Francisco Bay Area starting in June, as the cable provider raises the stakes in the broadband speed wars against competitors such as Google Fiber, AT&T and others.
This is the second launch this month for Comcast’s newly announced Gigabit Pro 2-gigabit Internet services. Earlier in April, the company announced Atlanta as the first city in the nation to get the faster Internet services.
The California launch will bring the services to some 3 million homes in the northern part of the state, including the city of San Francisco and the Bay Area, as well as the metro areas around Chico, Fresno, Marysville/Yuba City, Merced, Modesto, Monterey, Sacramento, Salinas, Santa Barbara County, Stockton and Visalia, the company said in an April 17 announcement. Gigabit Pro is a symmetrical, 2-gigabit-per-second service delivered by fiber connections to home users who are located near Comcast’s fiber network.
In addition, the company announced that it is launching a faster Extreme 250 service, with 250M-bps Internet speeds for customers in California, while also bumping up its speeds on other existing service tiers. Comcast’s 50M-bps Performance tier will be increased to 75M bps at no extra charge, while its Blast tier will be bumped up to 150M bps from its existing 105M bps level, starting in May.
“This is Comcast’s 15th speed increase in 13 years,” Hank Fore, the senior vice president of Comcast Cable’s California region, said in a statement. “We are proud to boost our existing speeds and most importantly introduce new Internet tiers like the Extreme 250 and Gigabit Pro that will allow our California customers to do more online, across multiple devices.”
Not all of the San Francisco Bay Area will get the Gigabit Pro offering or the increased speeds for existing services, the company said. Customers in Arbuckle, Coalinga, Cool, Gustine, Huron, Isleton, Le Grand, Lodi, Maxwell, Planada, Rio Vista, Santa Cruz, Santa Nella, Scotts Valley and Williams will not yet be able to get the new offerings.
When Comcast announced its Gigabit Pro services in Atlanta earlier in April, the company said it would be the first city in what would be a national rollout of the faster services. It certainly didn’t take long for Comcast to unveil the faster broadband to San Francisco and the Bay Area. Comcast earlier said it expects to have about 18 million homes across the United States hooked up to Gigabit Pro by the end of 2015, according to an earlier eWEEK report.
The high-speed, 2-gigabit home broadband services from Comcast certainly appear to be taking on competitors such as Google Fiber’s 1-gigabit services, which have been spreading across the nation since the fall of 2012 when they debuted in Kansas City. Google Fiber has been expanding its availability across the nation, attracting the attention of other providers.
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. That means that customers who are not near expensive fiber deployments will not be able to get the new services.
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, Ore.; San Jose, Calif.; Phoenix; Nashville; and Atlanta. A total of 34 communities, or “fiberhoods,” as Google calls them, in these metro areas are slated to receive Google Fiber as part of the company’s initial gigabit Internet rollout.