Comcast expands DOCSIS 3.1 footprint, entering Philadelphia, Washington and other Eastern cities

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Comcast expects most of its national footprint will have access to DOCSIS 3.1 service by 2018.

Comcast is continuing its rollout of DOCSIS 3.1 internet service, announcing deployments in Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, D.C. and the entire state of New Jersey, among other areas.

The ultra-high-speed footprint now also includes Northern Delaware, Baltimore and Charlottesville, Virginia. Additional markets will “deploy on a rolling basis through the fall,” according to the company's official press release.

A majority of the No. 1 MVPD’s total service area will be able to access D:3.1-supported 1-gigabyte or 500-megabyte service by 2018, the release said.

The expansion in the populous Eastern region was expected. Comcast earlier this year added 15 cities to its “gig-speed” roster, including San Francisco, Seattle and Houston, taking the most aggressive stance on D:3.1 of any cable operator. Later, it started to play things a bit closer to the vest, announcing deployments on a market-by-market basis. Comcast’s D:3.1 is also up and running in Atlanta, Nashville, Chicago, Detroit, Chattanooga, Huntsville, Alabama, and Miami.

RELATED: Comcast rolls out DOCSIS 3.1 in Boston, preps to enter Philly and other East Coast locales

Pricing for the 1-gig downstream/35 Mbps upstream service vary, depending on the market. In the new Eastern markets, the MSO is charging a base rate of $104.95 a month and a promotional price of $79.99 a month for those who take a one-year contract. In the earlier markets, Comcast had offered the service at $70-a-month with no caps if customers agreed to a three-year contract. The cable operator priced the service at $140-a-month with a 1-terabyte data cap for those who don’t agree to the contract.

Cable operators and telecom service providers are waging a battle for broadband supremacy, with tech players like Google Fiber also making a play. According to a recent survey by Leichtman Research Group, cable MSOs control more than 63% of total U.S. high-speed broadband subscribers, with telcos servicing 37%.

Comcast and its cable peers are keeping their heads on a swivel, however, given that the rate of residential subscriber growth declined by a collective 16.5% on the cable side, according to Leichtman. The rollout of DOCSIS 3.1 is aimed at businesses with data-heavy cloud projects. But Comcast and its rivals hope it will follow the demand curve of other technologies and become the default preference of increasingly data-hungry residential consumers.