Earlier this week we reported that AT&T was selling its gigabit fiber Internet service for substantially more in areas where it wasn’t competing with Google Fiber. The lesson is that, generally, more competition is better for consumers. And more competition is coming with news that one more company is bringing multi-gigabit Internet to the table.
Comcast announced today that it will begin offering a new “Gigabit Pro” Internet service to more than 1.5 million customers starting next month in Atlanta. The service will offer 2 gigabit-per-second speed over fiber-to-the-home connections. In an interesting twist, the service is symmetrical, meaning that upload speeds are as fast as download speeds.
“Our approach is to offer the most comprehensive roll-out of multi-gigabit service to the most homes as quickly as possible, not just to certain neighborhoods,” said senior vice president for Comcast’s South Region Doug Guthrie in the press release announcing the new service. “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.”
This is a fairly big turn for a company that said just under two years ago that most Americans don’t need gigabit-Internet service, as The Verge points out. Comcast has been delivering multi-gig internet since 2010, but only to businesses. This marks the first time the company will make similar speeds available to homes.
Although Comcast is rolling out the service in Atlanta, it plans on offering the service to 18 million Americans by the end of the the year. Customers will need to be “within close proximity of Comcast’s fiber network” and the service requires “installation of professional-grade equipment.”
So far there is no word on how much the service will cost, but given the wording of the press release, we aren’t expecting it to come cheap.