When you think about gigabit internet connections for consumers, Google is certainly one of the first names that comes to mind. Now, over three years after Google Fiber launched in Kansas City, Comcast is moving forward with its own gigabit service. The company says that its first customer using the service has been set up in Philadelphia.
To get 1000 Mbps down and up to the home, Comcast is taking a different approach than Google. Instead of laying new fiber connections to houses, it's using the new DOCSIS 3.1 standard which works over the existent "hybrid fiber coaxial" networks. That means it's a lot less expensive to roll out, and once Comcast gets everything set up, it should be able to deploy the service to most if not all of its customers. Getting those speeds does require new hardware in the house and software to the nodes that serve neighborhoods.
No word on pricing, but Comcast promises that the gigabit service will be available in "several parts of the country" before the end of 2016. Hopefully it will be more affordable than the company's $300-per-month, 2 Gbps service, which launched this year. It uses a different technology, and is available to roughly 18 million customers who live "within close proximity" to the cable company's fiber network.
Disclosure: Comcast is a minority investor in Vox Media, The Verge's parent company.