Comcast gigabit cable rollout is nearly done, but uploads are limited to 35Mbps.
Comcast’s gigabit cable service is now available to nearly all of the 58 million homes and businesses in the company’s US territory, Comcast announced yesterday.
Comcast, the nation’s largest ISP with more than 26 million subscribers, began rolling out gigabit cable in early 2016. It’s now available almost universally through Comcast’s territory that includes 39 states and the District of Columbia.
Comcast’s gigabit cable relies on DOCSIS 3.1 technology to deliver download speeds of up to 1,000Mbps, though Comcast notes that speeds will vary based on network traffic and “actual download speeds might be limited to 940Mbps due to Ethernet technical limitations.” Upload speeds are still limited to a comparatively paltry 35Mbps.
According to Comcast, the new milestone ensures that it is “the nation’s largest provider of gigabit broadband.” It’s not clear how many subscribers opt for gigabit service, but Comcast said that 75 percent of its broadband customers “choose plans with speeds of 100Mbps or more, double the speed those customers took just three years ago.”
$105+ a month, and a data cap
The standard prices for Comcast gigabit cable vary from $104.95 to $139.95 depending on where you live, Comcast told Ars. Promotions also vary by location. I found a deal of $89.99 a month for the first 12 months (and $104.95 a month thereafter) by checking offers in my part of Massachusetts with Comcast’s availability checker. The online ordering tool told me I’d have to pay a $60 fee for a “professional installation,” even if I use my own modem instead of renting one from Comcast.
Unfortunately, the gigabit service is subject to Comcast’s 1TB data cap and overage fees if you live in one of the 27 states where Comcast enforces the cap. Comcast automatically charges $10 for each additional 50GB allotment, up to a maximum of $200 in any given month. The company provides two “courtesy months” in which customers are not charged for overages.
You can upgrade to unlimited data for an extra $50 a month. Another way to avoid the cap is to buy Comcast’s “Gigabit Pro” fiber service, which offers 2Gbps speeds both downstream and upstream. But the fiber-to-the-home service costs $300 a month and isn’t as widely available as the gigabit cable. Comcast told Ars that its Gigabit Pro service is available to about 18 million homes.
Charter, the nation’s second biggest cable company after Comcast, also offers gigabit cable service but without data caps.
Disclosure: The Advance/Newhouse Partnership, which owns 13 percent of Charter, is part of Advance Publications. Advance Publications owns Condé Nast, which owns Ars Technica.
evan_s Ars Tribunus Militum Jeff S wrote:
Why don’t any of the ISPs seem to understand that home users need more upload bandwidth? This is, IMO, after data caps, the second most severe problem facing home users. I think the ISP thinking goes that mostly you’re just downloading, why do you need a bunch of upload speed. . . but these days, with people wanting to upload photos, videos, and do online backups, those upload bandwidth limits are very aggrevating and limiting.
Got a 4TB hard drive and need to upload 1.2 TB of photos, videos, music you’ve recorded yourself (e.g if you’re a musician and recording the songs you play), documents, etc?
Great, it’ll take you a week at the limited upload speed, and if you ever need to restore your online backup, better have the +$50/mo for unlimited data.
It’s not simply that they don’t want to provide it or don’t think people need it. Comcast literally can’t provide higher upload speeds. Short explanation is due to legacy equipment in the actual cable portions of their network they can only use a very small portion of the low frequency spectrum for upload bandwidth. This coupled with lower QAM levels that get you less MBs per bandwidth mean upload is crippled until they go through their network and replace all that old equipment. Replacing a bunch of Filters that block anything above 47mhz which are all over in their physical cabling is a long and time consuming process and quite likely they don’t even accurately know where all of them are.’
Comcast is basically at 2. Notice the relatively tiny block of blue just to the left of the grey square. That’s your 35mbs upload bandwidth.