Comcast Releases 'Disruptive' Gigabit-Speed Internet In Select Cities, No Fiber Required

Comcast Business is now offering business customers in four major cities access to gigabit internet speeds simply by changing out their router. The channel partner community is eager to immediately start selling lightning-fast internet options that don't require their customers to be on a carrier's fiber footprint.

Comcast, based in Philadelphia, has rolled out two new high-speed internet services to its business customers in Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit and Nashville. The latest services, Business Internet 1 Gig and Business Internet 500, both use DOCSIS 3.1-based modem technology on Comcast's existing coaxial network.

The two new internet service offerings will give thousands of small and midsized customers access to the speed and network capacity they need to reach cloud-based applications, and are available immediately through the channel, according to Comcast.

[Related: Solution Providers Poised To Pounce On Gigabit Internet Opportunities]

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Telarus, a master agent that partners with Comcast explained that the provider's two new services will dramatically increase the amount of bandwidth that has been available to coax users, and won't require any costly infrastructure upgrades, said Patrick Oborn, co-founder of Sandy, Utah-based Telarus.

"We're super-excited for the DOCSIS 3.1-based internet service," Oborn said. "Even though the service does not come with a [service-level agreement] SLA, the overall jump in speed is a huge value-add to companies with high bandwidth utilization."

DOCSIS 3.1 technology gives partners access to gigabit internet services to their end customers who already have access to the Comcast network, Craig Schlagbaum, vice president of indirect channels for Comcast Business told CRN.

"We are seeing companies shift to the cloud. However, any shift of computing resources into the cloud must take bandwidth requirements into account. This new service allows partners to help their clients scale for that quickly and easily," Schlagbaum said.

Business Internet 1 Gig offers connectivity speeds of up to 1 Gbps on the download, and Business Internet 500 offers up to 500 megabits per second (Mbps) on the download. The two tiers join Comcast's existing portfolio of gigabit and multi-gigabit services, which includes Comcast Business Ethernet.

The Federal Communications Commission says is the average U.S. broadband connection speed is about 31 Mbps.

Intelisys, a Petaluma, Calif.- based master agent that partners with Comcast predicts that the rollout of its "fiber-like speeds" delivered over coax will be disruptive across the connectivity market. The provider expects its agent partners will see a lot of success in selling the two new offerings to business customers located within Comcast's service areas.

"For customers that partners have been trying to deliver fiber to for a long time – and haven't been able to because there was either too much construction required or it was too cost-prohibitive – coax is pretty much ubiquitous, so we can offer the kinds of speeds that customers are really demanding today at an incredibly disruptive price point," said Andrew Pryfogle, senior vice president of cloud transformation for Intelisys.

The cable provider announced its plan to offer gigabit-speed internet service via a modem upgraded with DOCSIS 3.1 technology last year. The two new internet services announced this week allows Comcast to keep up with its carrier competition by offering gigabit connectivity speeds, without building out any additional, pricey network infrastructure.

"DOCSIS 3.1 business internet service offers a new and easy plug-and-play option for accessing gigabit speeds in any business environment – whether that is a large distributed enterprise across a wide geographic area or a small business with one or a few locations," said Kevin O’Toole, senior vice president of product management for Comcast Business in a statement.

To make the switch, business customers already being served by Comcast will need to contact the cable provider or their solution provider partner to request one of the two new services and to order the DOCSIS 3.1 modem, according to Comcast.

Comcast said it plans to launch Business Internet 1 Gig and Business Internet 500 to the rest of its service areas throughout 2017 and into 2018. The provider is targeting Miami, Denver, San Francisco, and Kansas City next.

Atlanta-based competitor Cox Communications has also revealed plans to leverage DOCSIS 3.1 technology early this year.