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.
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.