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Comcast begins rolling out its new DOCSIS 3.1 gigabit Internet service

It may not be available to everyone for quite some time, but Comcast’s new gigabit Internet has technically begun to roll out, as the company is delivering the new service to a customer in Philadelphia.

“At a home in the Philadelphia area, we took the next important step forward in delivering gigabit speed broadband over our hybrid fiber coaxial network,” Comcast executive president and chief technology officer Tony Werner wrote in a post on the company’s corporate blog. This constituted what the company believes to be “the world’s first DOCSIS 3.1 modem on a customer-facing network.”

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That might not sound like a big deal, but unlike Google Fiber and many other gigabit-plus Internet services, this uses existing cable connections that are already connected to many customers’ homes. “All we needed was a new modem, a software upgrade to the device that serves that neighborhood, and a few good engineers,” Werner wrote.

Comcast already has a faster offering in its 2Gbps Internet, but while that costs $300 per month, the company’s gigabit service should be cheaper. That said, Comcast has yet to say what it plans to charge for the coming service.

After the initial test in Philadelphia, Werner says that the company has expanded the trial to other locations in Pennsylvania, northern California, and Atlanta. Exactly how many customers are testing the new service is unknown, but Werner writes that the tests confirm that DOCSIS 3.1 works over the company’s existing network, so if you’ve already got Comcast cable or Internet service, you should be able to use its gigabit service once it’s available.

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The company has previously said that it could take until 2018 for its gigabit service to be available everywhere, but it does plan to officially roll out the new offering sometime in 2016.

It may still be a while, but it seems that gigabit Internet is finally on its way to the masses.