Though maligned for its customer support and billing practices, the one thing Comcast decidedly does well is offer fast Internet service. In recent nationwide testing, SpeedTest.net found that Comcast is the fastest nationwide ISP in the country. And now comes word that the company’s fast Internet is about to get a whole lot faster.
During a recent interview with FierceCable, Comcast VP of network architecture Robert Howald said that Comcast has plans to offer gigabit Internet service to all of its customers by 2018.
As it stands now, Comcast is looking to upgrade its DOCSIS 3 technology (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification) to DOCSIS 3.1. If that transition goes as smoothly as anticipated, Comcast’s network will be able to handle Internet speeds of at least 1Gbps. Down the line, Howald said that the network will be able to offer Internet speeds as fast as 10Gbps.
Executives from CableLabs, the company that designed the DOCSIS 3.1 standard, said that the 3.1 standard can transmit data up to 10 Gbps — however, those speeds are only possible with ideal network configurations and equipment. Comcast’s Howald said that after the company’s initial DOCSIS 3.1 deployment, the company will work to tweak and enhance the technology. “Then we’ll start to see more advanced features come into play,” he said.
Comcast’s DOCSIS 3.1 rollout is slated to kick off sometime in early 2016. Once fully deployed, Comcast said that “every customer in our footprint will be able to receive gigabit speeds over our existing network (a combination of both fiber and coax).” Early trials of DOCSIS 3.1 may begin as early as late 2015.
“We want to get it across the footprint very quickly,” Howald explained. “We’re shooting for two years.”
By then, one can only assume that Comcast’s 300GB data cap will be nothing more than a distant memory.
While it’s far too early to talk pricing (rest assured, this won’t come cheap), it’s an encouraging sign nonetheless. Without fail, the United States ranks surprisingly low when looking at average Internet speeds across the globe.