Comcast starts testing gigabit internet in Chicago

Comcast said it had started offering gigabit internet service in the Chicago metropolitan area as part of a multi-city trial period, which follows the telecom's ongoing gigabit tests in Atlanta and Nashville, which were both launched earlier this year.

The delivery of the 1GBPS speeds would happen on the basis of DOCSIS 3.1, a new modem standard for transmitting data through traditional coaxial cable lines that was in certain situations even faster than fibre optic cables, which meant Comcast did not need to lay down new wires or rework any other aspects of its existing infrastructure.

The service, however, comes at a high cost of $140 a month without a contract, which excluded additional taxes and fees. In Atlanta and Nashville, where competition for fibre internet was higher, Comcast offered its gigabit service for $70 a month so long as one locked into a three-year contract, but the contract option was not offered to Chicago customers.

However, Comcast told The Consumerist, "As these are advanced consumer trials, we are testing different prices and promotions in different markets."

Meanwhile, Atlanta would be getting AT&T's gigabit internet services, while Nashville already boasted Google Fiber.

According to commentators, Comcast might only be testing the waters there briefly before it felt the need to lower its rates.

''We're delivering gigabit speeds over the network that already passes millions of homes in the Chicago area,'' said John Crowley, Comcast Greater Chicago Region SVP. ''Our commitment to providing customers with a great experience is front and center with this announcement, and we're proud that Comcast's Chicago-area customers will be among the first in the world to have access to this new gigabit technology.''

With a 1 Gbps connection, customers can:

  • Download a 5 Gigabyte HD movie in 40 seconds;
  • Download a 600 Megabyte TV episode in four seconds;
  • Download a 150 Megabyte music album in two seconds; and
  • Download 15 Gigabyte video game in two minutes.