After announcing it was going to offer a 1 Gbps service to its residential customers last month, Cox Communications provided more details on the roll out. Cox will enter the 1-gigabit ring by starting with new residential construction projects and new and existing neighborhoods in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Omaha.
In all Cox locations, the cable operator said it would begin market-wide deployment of gigabit speeds by the end of 2016. Cox Communications CEO Pat Esser previewed the company’s gigabit ambitions during a Bloomberg interview the same week as The Cable Show in Los Angeles. During a CTO session at The Cable Show, Cox executive vice president and chief technology officer Kevin Hart made mention of the 1-gigabit service when asked about his engineering priorities this year.
“I would say No. 1 is our continued focus on the customer experience and that’s all around the availability and reliability of the network and products and services. That’s always kind of our top goal,” Hart said in an interview after The Cable Show. “No. 2 is really related to our next generation network preparation. It’s going all-digital, it’s DOCSIS 3.1 readiness and then it’s our gigabit plan that Pat (Esser) gave a preview of at the show. Third is our IMS preparation.”
In addition to providing a gigabit service to neighborhoods, Cox announced that it would offer gigabit speeds to units in select new condominiums and apartments, and will offer Wi-Fi hotspots in the common areas of those developments.
Cox also said its Wi-Fi service was now available across the Phoenix metropolitan area and the greater Las Vegas area after a recent Wi-Fi launch in Omaha. Cox subscribers also have access to the 250,000 hotspots across the nation via the CableWiFi roaming alliance that also includes Comcast, Cablevision, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks.
Cox also announced it would double the speeds on its most popular tiers of Internet service for all customers this year. Cox High Speed Internet Preferred will increase from 25 megabits per second to 50 megabits per second. Cox High Speed Internet Premier will increase from 50 megabits per second to 100 megabits per second. Those tiers represent more than 70 percent of Cox's high-speed Internet customers. Over the last 12 years, Cox has increased broadband speeds 800 percent.
Over the past 10 years, privately held Cox said it has invested more than $15 billion in its communities through infrastructure upgrades to deliver video, phone and high-speed Internet service to homes and businesses.
CenturyLink has 1-Gig ambitions as well
Last year CenturyLink launched a 1-gigabit service to some customers in its Las Vegas footprint. Yesterday CenturyLink announced it would expand its gigabit fiber network and more than double the number of homes eligible for the service by the end the year.
The expansion will bring the service to select residential communities in the west Las Vegas, southwest Las Vegas, Rhodes Ranch, Southern Highlands, North Las Vegas, Henderson and Anthem areas.
“Due to the demand for our 1 gigabit fiber service, we are accelerating our projected expansion timeline in order to provide more customers with access to our ultra-fast broadband service,” said Jeff Oberschelp, CenturyLink vice president and general manager for Las Vegas. “Customers using our 1 gigabit service have seen the way this next-generation technology can power their everyday activity. This year we expect to double the number of homes that can connect to this service and will continue working to fulfill the response we’ve received for this unrivaled product offering.”
In May of last year, CenturyLink announced a fiber-to-the-premise gigabit trial in Omaha.The service, which uses GPON gear from Calix, is currently available to 48,000 Omaha homes and businesses.
In February, CenturyLink took the wraps off of a symmetrical, 1 gigabit-per-second tier for multi-tenant unit (MTU) office buildings in the Salt Lake City area.
In addition to butting heads against each other over 1 gigabit services, Cox and CenturyLink could also face additional competition from Google Fiber as it expands it service.