RCN to launch gigabit service in Chicago, undercuts Comcast and AT&T

Chicago's skyline. Image: Daniel Schwen/CC BY-SA 4.0

RCN said it will bring 1-gig internet services to select parts of the Chicago area.

The operator said the uncapped service, which will cost users $70 a month on a one-year contract, will “soon be available” in Skokie and Lincolnwood. Customers in those regions can sign up today by visiting rcn.com/gettagig.

The MSO said it will eventually roll out 1-gig services to all its serviceable areas in Chicago, upping choices for gigabit-speed broadband that are currently only addressed in the region by scattered offerings from Comcast and AT&T. 

RCN and Grande Communications have been sold from one private equity firm to another, with Texas-based private-equity firm TPG Capital paying $2.25 billion to acquire the two operators from Boston-headquartered ABRY Partners in August. 

“The capacity provided by 1 gigabit is massive, and it more than keeps up with the explosive growth of internet usage,” said RCN COO Chris Fenger in a statement. “Year-over-year internet usage is increasing 35-50 percent, and the average home now has 7.8 internet-connected devices, which represents an increase of 64 million devices over the past year alone.

“This continued trend confirms that DOCSIS 3.1 is a critical technology for the future, enabling not only gigabit internet speeds, but also future enhancements such as IP video and other advanced services,” Fenger added.

In August, Chicago announced that it would deliver gigabit-speed services to “millions” of Chicago homes using DOCSIS 3.1 network upgrades.

Comcast will offer Chicagoans 1 Gbps service for $140 a month but also said it would test promotional pricing. 

The cable company has already been offering its far more expensive ($300 a month) fiber-based 2 Gbps service, Gigabit Pro, in Chicago since last year. 

In the Windy City, Comcast is competing with AT&T, which began offering its 1 Gbps GigaPower service in the region last year. AT&T said the service is now available in about 125,000 Chicago-area homes. Comcast is also facing new competition in Chicago, with upstart cable company Layer3 TV staking an early claim in the area.

For more:
- read this RCN press release

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