Comcast Rolls Out 1-Gigabit Broadband in Atlanta

As the old saying goes, "If you can?EU?t beat ?EU?em, join ?EU?em." Comcast, however, is aiming to do both in the competitive gigabit broadband market of Atlanta. Comcast said it is making Atlanta the first city to receive its gigabit broadband service, or broadband at 1 gigabit per second (1 Gbps).

That?EU?s the good news for Comcast; the bad news is that it has no shortage of competition, with Google Fiber and AT&T already providing similar services in that market. But Comcast, the largest cable provider in the United States, appears to be coming into the city with fists raised, distributing flyers asking customers not to "fall for the hype" of Google Fiber, in particular.

Comcast said this week that it would test its new broadband service in a limited number of Atlanta neighborhoods, promising speeds that are 50 to 100 times faster than standard broadband service. Comcast customers in Atlanta can check Xfinity.com/gig to see if they qualify for the trial

As is often the case with high-speed Internet service, there are disparities between download and upload speeds with the Comcast product. Comcast is using DOCSIS 3.1 technology to deliver gigabit download speeds over cable. It installed its first DOCSIS 3.1 modem in Philadelphia last year. But the service?EU?s upload speed is only 35 Mbps (megabits per second), Comcast confirmed. Comcast's far more expensive -- $300 a month with $1,000 startup fees -- fiber-to-the-home service offers 2 Gbps in both directions.

Cost Varies

What will the 1 Gbps broadband service cost? Well, that depends. Atlantans in the pilot areas will be able to get the service without any data caps for $70 a month if they sign a three-year contract with an early termination penalty of $350. The termination penalty would go down the longer the customer honored the contract. Without a contract,...

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