Sunday, 21 August 2016 21:48

Comcast starts Gigabit speeds in Chicago DOCSIS 3.1 trial


Using current network infrastructure, US cable operator Comcast is trialling DOCSIS 3.1 tech to deliver speeds "up to 1 Gigabit per second" over lines already reaching millions of homes.

Comcast gets straight to the point in explaining what a 1Gbps connection can deliver, noting that it will let you:

  • Download a 5 Gigabyte HD movie in 40 seconds;
  • Download a 600 Megabyte TV episode in four seconds;
  • Download a 150 Megabyte music album in two seconds; and
  • Download a 15 Gigabyte video game in two minutes.

Comcast Greater Chicago Region senior vice-president John Crowley said: “We're delivering gigabit speeds over the network that already passes millions of homes in the Chicago area.

“Our commitment to providing customers with a great experience is front and centre with this announcement, and we're proud that Comcast's Chicago area customers will be among the first in the world to have access to this new Gigabit technology."

Although Australia has to wait for a slightly different DOCSIS 3.1 standard to start rolling out in early 2017 following existing trials, the US consumer introduction of DOCSIS 3.1 is already happening.

Indeed, ComCast says that it "marks a major step forward in the evolution of ultra-high-speed broadband", noting that "once DOCSIS 3.1 gigabit Internet service is available in a market, customers with gigabit-capable devices will be able to sign up for a new plan and then experience the benefits of that speed".

Fred Hoch, chief executive, Illinois Technology Association, said: “Comcast's investments in our technology infrastructure have helped to advance and evolve our economy, and I applaud their commitment to the technology ecosystem. DOCSIS 3.1 is a significant step forward in Internet Technology."

Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce president and chief executive Omar Duque added, "We thank Comcast for deploying the new service here early on and delivering Gigabit speeds to neighbourhoods and communities across the city and across the region."

It will be nice when Australians are able to make similar pronouncements, but thanks to differing standards, our wait on speed continues for a bit longer yet.

In the US, Comcast is charging US$139.95 plus taxes and fees per month for the Xfinity service.

As part of the trial, Comcast says "initial users will be encouraged to provide feedback about the service to Comcast, which will be used to help ensure future market rollouts deliver the best possible customer experience."

Comcast 1Gbps

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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