Comcast is on a path to deliver 10Gbps connectivity. Speaking at a Bank of America investor conference on September 8th, Comcast EVP and Deputy CFO and Treasurer Jason Armstrong said the cable network operator will be in the market with DOCSIS 4.0 and offering symmetrical multi-gig broadband in the second half of 2023. Currently, upload speeds top out at 200 Mbps.
Armstrong said: “Comcast fiber connectivity has gone from 0% to 40% sort of across our footprint in a fairly linear fashion. And in that time frame, we’ve become America’s number one broadband provider, 32 million subs. I would tell you in the last couple of years through the pandemic, we added three million subscribers in an environment where fiber was actually picking up in terms of the presence in the markets that served against us….Fixed wireless access (FWA) is newer, but longer term, fiber is the real long-term competitor. And it always has been. Our view hasn’t changed. It’s a very viable competitor.”
“And longer term, if you think about it, any secular trend out there, whether it’s AR, VR, Metaverse, low latency gaming, the move from linear to streaming, every one of those is — those are bandwidth talks. That’s going to continue to move up usage profiles across the network. Those are all trends that work in our favor.”
Comcast said rollouts of its 2-gig offering are underway in Colorado Springs, Colorado; Augusta, Georgia; and Panama City Beach, Florida. It added the service will be available in a total of 34 markets by the end of 2022 and to more than 50 million locations across the country by the end of 2025. Comcast already offers speeds of up to 1.2 Gbps across its entire cable network using DOCSIS 3.1 technology and has been rolling out mid-split upgrades over the past several months in preparation for an update to DOCSIS 4.0. Speeds of up to 6 Gbps are already available to certain Xfinity fiber customers.
Elad Nafshi, EVP and Chief Network Officer at Comcast Cable, told Fierce Telecom the faster speeds will be available on any DOCSIS 3.1 modem, meaning no upgrades will be required. Elad noted the company’s recent launch of a Wi-Fi 6E router which will deliver the best user experience. According to Nafshi, the mid-split upgrades are just one small piece of the work it has put into enabling the new speed tier. He pointed to its deployment of a virtual cable modem termination system (vCMTS) as well as digital nodes and digital optics as critical pieces of the puzzle which also lay the groundwork for its future DOCSIS 4.0 rollout.
“The way we’re delivering the increased upstream speeds is by, for the very first time, launching DOCSIS 3.1 in the upstream. It’s by relying on the Octave platform that enables us to truly optimize the delivery of those greater upstream speeds by leveraging those new upstream frequencies in order to deliver on this product. Extending additional DOCSIS 3.1 channels, which enable us to deliver the 2-gig speeds as well. There’s a lot of firsts coming to market here,” he explained.