Comcast Corp. has broken the national gig barrier. The Philadelphia company says it can now offer gigabit speeds to nearly all of its residential and business customers, or nearly 58 million homes in the United States.
Gigabit speeds — 1,000 megabits a second — are 10 times faster than the speed that most Comcast customers buy today, of 100 megabits a second.
The deployment represents the fastest rollout of gigabit speeds to homes among broadband providers, Comcast said on Thursday. Search engine giant Google popularized the notion of gigabit speed with Google Fiber, though it has retreated from its grand ambitions for that internet service.
According to Comcast's website, gigabit service in the Philadelphia area costs $105 a month without a promotional discount.
Tony Werner, Comcast's president of technology and product experience, said the effort to offer the service in the 39 states it serves and Washington took about three years. The company began by offering gig speeds in certain metropolitan areas and has stitched those together into a national service.
"Broadband and broadband service is becoming more and more important to our customers and basically everybody on the planet," Werner said.
Though few customers have a reason to buy gig service, Werner said, "what we are seeing is that our power users are connected to 50 to 60 [internet] devices" and are taking it. He used himself as an example, noting his four televisions, two gaming platforms, and eight internet-connected speakers. Beyond traditional electronics, he has garage doors, a stationary bike, a cooker, and other devices that are connected to the internet.
A big benefit of gigabit service is faster downloads. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, a video game, can be downloaded in about an hour at 100 megabits a second. At gigabit speeds, the download takes eight minutes, the company said.