Comcast confirmed that Gigabit Pro, its new symmetrical 2 Gbps residential broadband service delivered via fiber-to-the-premises technology, will carry a promotional price of $159 per month in the early going, about half its general price of $299.95 per month.
A web site promoting the service went live Monday. According to the fine print, customers who are eligible (those within one-third of a mile of Comcast’s fiber network) must agree to a two-year term contract that is subject to early termination fees, as well as other fees, including $500 for a professional installation and $500 for service activation. “Installation may require 6 to 8 weeks or more to complete,” the site explains.
-Gigabit Pro will not be subject to monthly usage consumption caps. Comcast is testing usage-based consumption policies in several markets for HFC-delivered high-speed Internet services.
-Comcast confirmed a report that the promotional pricing for Gigabit Pro is presently limited to the MSO's Central Division markets, and that customers who take the promotional rate will be required to sign a three-year agreement. Comcast hasn't announced the duration of this promo. "We want to test it first and see what we learn from it," a spokesman said.
In the early going, Comcast is offering Gigabit Pro as a stand-alone service, and is not offering it in conjunction with specific video and voice bundles.
According to the Gigabit Pro site, the new 2-Gig service is available in the following areas:
-Florida: Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, and West Palm Beach.
-Indiana: Anderson, Bloomington, Columbus, Elkhart, Fort Wayne, Gary, Hammond, Indianapolis, Kokomo, Lafayette, and South Bend.
-Michigan: Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Jackson, and Lansing.
-Tennessee: Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Nashville.
-California: Chico, Fresno, Marysville/Yuba City, Merced, Modesto, Monterey, Sacramento, Salinas, San Francisco Bay Area, Santa Barbara County, Stockton and Visalia metro areas.
Comcast, which announced Gigabit Pro in April, plans to make the 2-Gig service available to 18 million customers by the end of 2015. Other markets identified for the service include Houston; Colorado (including metro Denver, Fort Collins, Loveland, Longmont and Colorado Springs); Utah; Washington State (including Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, and Everett); Oregon; and Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn.
Comcast has been using its business-focused Metro Ethernet platform to deliver a residential service called Extreme 505 (those customers will be moved to Gigabit Pro), but is expected to use a PON-based approach for Gigabit Pro in the months ahead.
Comcast is deploying Gigabit Pro on a demand-driven basis, only pulling fiber and installing the necessary home-side gear to customers who sign up for it. Comcast expects to offer gigabit speeds on a much broader basis on its broadly deployed HFC network using DOCSIS 3.1, a new CableLabs-specified platform that is targeting capacities up to 10 Gbps down and at least 1 Gbps in the upstream.
More detail about Comcast’s strategy around Gigabit Pro and cable’s targeted use of fiber-to-the-premises technologies will be featured in the July 20 issue of Multichannel News.