Comcast announced in a recent blog post that it planned to provide its 22 million customers with a super-high-speed Internet service that is twice as fast than Google Fiber, and nearly 80 times faster than standard broadband Internet speeds offered by other carriers.
Comcast-powered Internet users will be able to experience speeds up to 2 gigabits per second, according to the company. But the service will be first launched in Atlanta and will be available across the country by the end of the year. By this year’s end, 18 million homes will have access to the super-fast lanes.
But users who will not be able to benefit from the two-gigabit service will still have access to one-gigabit speeds through coaxial cables, the company said.
Google Fiber rolled out its one-gigabit Internet service about a couple of years ago, when the tech giant announced that it planned to push other internet service providers (ISPs) into following a similar trend. And it seems that Google’s dreams have come true.
Both Google and other companies hope that faster lanes would not only translate into faster websites and enhanced user experience on popular platforms such as Facebook and Netflix, but it will also open the door to more complex online applications.
However, Comcast’s announcement does not necessarily mean that all U.S. consumers will opt for ultra-high-speed fiber. Many of them may find it hard to pay the extra price, while others may lack the necessary infrastructure.
Comcast failed to disclose an approximate price for its new service. We only know that its XFINITY Extreme 505 service, which grants speeds of up to 500 Mbps, costs $399.95 per month. But, as Google Fiber is also planning to hit Atlanta, prices may soon tumble.
AT&T, for instance, is now offering gigabit speeds for $70 per month in locations where it directly competes with Google Fiber and $110 per month in locations where it doesn’t have any competition.
But setup costs will be the most problematic. Although Comcast has a vast fiber optic network across the country, linking it to end users’ homes could trigger additional costs. Google Fiber is already trying to mitigate those costs by rolling out the service in limited areas where people have already paid in advance.
Comcast plans to launch a service that will be available to all people living nearby its fiber optic pipes. But the connection to end users will be made only per households, rather than per individual users. So, the high costs may limit the nationwide spread of faster connections.
Still, the ones that don’t live within the proximity of its pipes will get faster speeds over coaxial cables. The new technology called DOCSIS that will make it happen is still under experimentation.
The company pledged that the new technology will be available in early 2016. As a result, almost all Comcast clients will have access to at least one-gigabit Internet speeds. Installation costs for one-gbps lanes will also be close to zero since the company will rely on its already existing infrastructure.
If all goes well, Comcast will become the first ISP to offer gigabit speeds nationwide. Up to this moment, Google Fiber has stalled in three urban areas where it is available to only a selected few.
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