Comcast one ups Google Fiber, AT&T with 2-Gbps broadband in Atlanta

Comcast has decided to fight fire with fire when it comes to competition from Google Fiber and AT&T 1-Gbps fiber-optic broadband service offerings. The cable MSO announced today that it too will use fiber to the home (FTTH) to offer gigabit broadband, but will trump its competitors with a symmetrical 2-Gbps service it will offer in Atlanta next month.

Comcast has decided to fight fire with fire when it comes to competition from Google Fiber and AT&T 1-Gbps fiber-optic broadband service offerings. The cable MSO announced today that it too will use fiber to the home (FTTH) to offer gigabit broadband, but will trump its competitors with a symmetrical 2-Gbps service it will offer in Atlanta next month.

The cable MSO says it will be able to offer the new Gigabit Pro broadband services to more than 1.5 million customers in the Atlanta metro area. AT&T announced plans last October to offer its 1-Gbps U-Verse with GigaPower offering in that market (see "Atlanta, Chicago next up for 1-Gbps GigaPower service says AT&T"), while Google Fiber revealed similar intentions this past January (see "Google Fiber to bring FTTH to four southeastern cities, looks at five more").

Comcast alluded to Google Fiber's deployment strategy in describing its offering. "Our approach is to offer the most comprehensive rollout of multi-gigabit service to the most homes as quickly as possible, not just to certain neighborhoods," said Doug Guthrie, senior vice president of Comcast Cable's South Region. "We already provide the fastest speeds to the most homes and businesses in Atlanta, and access to Gigabit Pro will give our customers all the broadband capacity they need to stay ahead of future technologies and innovations."

The service provider plans to leverage its existing fiber-optic network infrastructure in the Atlanta area to support the service. Comcast says it has progressively extended its fiber cable network into various Atlanta metro neighborhoods for the past decade, and already uses it to serve businesses in the area. It also cited a recent agreement with the Atlanta Braves baseball team to offer multi-gigabit speeds to residences and businesses throughout the team's new mixed use and stadium development project.

Comcast has used FTTH technology in other markets as a means to stay ahead of Verizon's FiOS offerings. Marcien Jenckes, executive vice president, consumer services, at Comcast Cable writes in a blog that Comcast plans to offer Gigabit Pro in other markets across the country, with a goal of making the service available to 18 million homes by the end of the year. He notes that Comcast continues to experiment with DOCSIS 3.1 technology, which also could be used to offer gigabit services. Interestingly, Jenckes describes DOCSIS 3.1 as support for 1 Gbps rather than 2 Gbps; it is not likely Comcast will offer symmetrical 1-Gbps services using the technology. The cable operator expects to begin rolling out DOCSIS 3.1 at some point next year.

For more information on FTTx equipment and providers, visit the Lightwave Buyer's Guide.

More in FTTH/B