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Comcast completed this week the rollout 1 Gb broadband to the nearly 58 million homes and businesses in its 39-state footprint. As a result, Comcast became the largest provider of gigabit broadband in the nation, the company claimed.
For businesses, the gigabit cable would compete against wired broadband and MPLS services offered by rivals AT&T and Verizon. To match the security and reliability of MPLS, the company could combine the Comcast gigabit service with its managed software-defined WAN (SD-WAN), said Rajesh Ghai, an analyst at IDC.
Comcast's business unit has offered multigigabit cable for years and started rolling out the 1 Gb service several years ago. The latter service is a Wi-Fi option for offices and consumers. The price for the home service would range from $105 to $140 a month, depending on the location.
The new service more than doubles the fastest wireless option Comcast makes available to consumers today. The higher speed arrives as AT&T and Verizon begin the rollout of 5G fixed wireless access services expected to deliver competitive speeds eventually.
Comcast gigabit defending against 5G
Comcast plans to deliver its gigabit home service through its residential Wi-Fi gear. While rivals might provide more services on top of their 5G infrastructure, the Comcast offering should be good enough for many households and businesses, Ghai said.
"I think [the Comcast gigabit service] feels good enough," he said. "Offering a bundle of 1 Gb wired broadband internet coupled with Wi-Fi and SD-WAN [for companies] will hold the necessary appeal for a large number of both business and residential customers."
Also, Comcast is banking on AT&T and Verizon not meeting their aggressive schedules for rolling out 5G, Ghai said. "It is betting that 5G fixed wireless access will not be very ubiquitous and hence it will have an advantage in speed in most places over AT&T and Verizon."
In September, Verizon launched a 5G internet service in select neighborhoods in four U.S. cities -- Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles and Sacramento, Calif. The baseline speed for the service is about 300 Mbps. However, Verizon said some customers could get close to 1 Gb if they are in a favorable location relative to the 5G small cell site broadcasting the wireless signal.
Verizon Wireless customers would pay $50 a month for the new service and noncustomers would pay $70 a month.
Eventually, Verizon wants to offer 5G services to 32 million homes in the 50 U.S. markets it covers. How long the rollout will take is not clear.
By early next year, AT&T plans to have 19 cities wired for 5G, including Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The company has not said when it would start offering services or how much they would cost.