Bright House Networks is poised to become the first U.S. cable operator to offer a symmetrical 1 Gbps broadband service to residential customers.
But the rollout, which will rely on fiber-to-the-home, will be highly targeted. Bright House and Metro Development Group on Thursday announced they will offer the new “UltraFI” service to a new housing development in the Tampa area starting this spring. Pricing has not yet been set.
MDG’s initial rollout plan will span six communities, starting with one called Union Park, and encompass about 6,000 homes. According to The Wall Street Journal, MDG expects to complete the build out in about three years. Home sales in the development are expected to get underway in May, with the first move-in dates slated for September.
MDG, a developer with about 70 residential and commercial projects spanning Central Florida, said that every new home in these UltraFI communities will be pre-wired and include home automation and security services, and feature access to 1-Gig-capable Wi-Fi networks on area nature trails, clubhouses and playgrounds. MDG also noted that the broadband service will come in handy for new 4K offerings (Netflix, for example, is expected to roll out its first 4K offering later this year).
The MSO, a Bright House spokeswoman said, will deliver 1-Gig services via a fiber-fed EPON platform, which the MSO has traditionally used to deliver services to mid-sized and larger business customers. Bright House has also been a proponent of DOCSIS Provisioning of EPON (DPoE), a CableLabs spec that allows a cable operator to use DOCSIS-style provisioning and backoffice systems for EPON deployments.
In a similar fiber-based approach, Comcast is using its Metro Ethernet platform, also used primarily to serve business customers, to power Extreme 505, a residential broadband tier that offers 505 Mbps down by 65 Mbps upstream. Comcast has limited availably to its Northeast Division, though sources said the MSO is getting ready to extend access to its Central Division.
The Bright House/MDG connection coincidentally comes as Google Fiber continues to beat the drum for 1-Gig broadband. Last month, Google Fiber announced it was exploring an expansion into as many as 34 additional markets. However, none of those proposed sites are in areas currently served by Bright House.
“Bright House Networks is pleased to join Metro Development Group in this revolutionary project,” Nomi Bergman, president of Bright House Networks, said in a statement. “Bright House Networks has designed a fiber-to-the-home network solution for MDG because of the very specific applications the Developer has planned for its communities. We are confident both Bright House and MDG can provide superior products and services now and into the future.”
“Bright House Networks builds customized solutions for voice, data, cloud-based and managed services working side-by-side with clients. Our world class technology team offers advanced solutions for large businesses and multi-site organizations based on the applications planned by the client,” added Craig Cowden, SVP-network engineering, operations and enterprise solutions for Bright House Networks. “We were a perfect match for bringing MDG’s plans to life.”