Broadband

Comcast Sets DOCSIS 3.1 Expansion, Launches 1-Gig in Detroit

MSO to launch 1-Gig via HFC in several markets in early 2017, including Denver, San Francisco, Kansas City, among others 11/01/2016 10:33 AM Eastern

Comcast is preparing to launch 1-Gig (downstream) broadband service using DOCSIS 3.1 in several new markets in early 2017, according to a mix of local reports, a formal announcement and an updated gigabit deployment map.  

Comcast has consumer trials underway in Nashville, Chicago and Atlanta, and has already announced that Detroit and Miami will be soon added to that list.

Update: Comcast announced today that it has launched 1-Gig service via D3.1 in Detroit, with a base price of $139.95 per month while also testing “promotional base pricing” of $70 per month with a three-year service contract. Comcast also said it still plans to launch D3.1 in Miami before the end of tye year.

RELATED: Comcast Goes For a Gig in Chicago

Notably, Comcast’s coming D3.1 expansion arrives amid a confirmation from Google Fiber that it will halt its expansion into new cities as it continues buildouts in existing 1-Gig markets and takes a closer look at potentially less expensive wireless broadband alternatives.

RELATED: Google Fiber Pauses Expansion Plans, Laying Off Some Staff

Here’s a rundown of the additional areas and markets the MSO is targeting for deployment early next year, according to MSO announcements and local media reports:

-Colorado, according to The Denver Post, noting that the rollout should start in January or February. Comcast’s primary competitor there is CenturyLink, which is offering 1-Gig in select areas.  

-Suburban Kansas City, according to the Kansas City Business Journal.

-Oregon and Southwest Washington, per The Oregonian, which notes that the new service might qualify the MSO for a "gigabit" tax break that state lawmakers seemingly tailored for Google Fiber, which had been exploring deployment there. That deployment includes Seattle, according to The Seattle Times.

-Knoxville, Tenn., according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.

-Select cities in Comcast’s California footprint, including the San Francisco Bay Area, per this press release. Comcast noted that the following areas not part of the initial deployment that’s slated for early 2017: Sacramento, Rio Vista, Isleton, Lodi, Ukiah, Willits, Mendocino, Fort Bragg, Williams, Arbuckle, Maxwell, Citrus Heights, Folsom, McClellan AFB, Rancho Cordova, Cool, Sutter Creek, Amador City-San Andreas, Angels Camp, Arnold, Jackson, Plymouth, Lathrop, Manteca, Sonora and Tuolumne County-Sonora.

Comcast, which has been expanding the deployment of a new 1-terabyte data plan, has also updated a map showing current and planned gigabit deployments. Markets tagged as new “upcoming” deployments of 1-Gig service include Denver; Indianapolis; Jacksonville, Fla.; Kansas City; Knoxville, Tenn.; Portland, Ore.; San Francisco Bay Area and San Jose, Calif.; Salt Lake City; and Seattle.

RELATED: Comcast Launches DOCSIS 3.1 Trial in Nashville

Comcast is looking to ramp up deployment of DOCSIS 3.1, a CableLabs-specified platform for widely deployed HFC networks that is capable of delivering multi-gigabit speeds.  On a more targeted basis, Comcast has also been selling Gigabit Pro, a symmetrical (and pricier) 2 Gbps residential broadband service that uses fiber-to-the-premises technologies.  

RELATED: DOCSIS 3.1 In The Wild

Comcast didn’t announce pricing for D3.1-powered 1-Gig (downstream) services coming to the new markets early next year, but the MSO’s web site is showing an advertised price of $139.95 per month. However, in test markets such as Chicago, Atlanta and Nashville, Comcast has also been promoting a $70 per month option for customers who agree to a three-year contract, and a contract-free price of $139.95 per month.

Among competitors, RCN is deploying 1-Gig over DOCSIS 3.1 in Chicago and New York City for $69.99 per month for the first 12 months.WideOpenWest is using D3.1 to power an uncapped 1-Gig service in a handful of markets for $70 per month, with a two-year contract. 

Speaking at the recent SCTE/ISBE Cable-Tec Expo in Philadelphia, Comcast VP of access architecture Jorge Salinger said initial trial deployments of D3.1 showed that the technology was working as advertised.

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