Comcast may be hoping to fix its “cord-cutter” issue through a break-through in internet providing services. However, Comcast being Comcast, some are already skeptical as to the motives in rolling out “super-fast gigabit internet speeds.”
According to Tech Insider, Comcast successfully tested the world’s first DOCSIS 3.1 modem via a lucky Philadelphia, Penn. household. Tech Insider explained the implications of this success as meaning the cable TV and internet provider would be able to offer internet speeds 10 times as fast as what’s typically available. What’s especially great news for Comcast is that they were able to achieve their gigabit internet speeds without having to put their current infrastructure through a significant overhaul.
It’s the first time such speeds are available without having to install new fiber lines, something described as an “expensive” and “lengthy process.” Cost is the reason that rival cable and internet providers have for the most part avoided the technology. It’s not exactly new, and Endgaget suggested that for some internet users, Comcast’s service changes “will seem old hat” if you’re with Google Fiber or AT&T’s Gigapower.
— Re/code (@Recode) December 27, 2015
It’s believed that Comcast is only now making these changes to stall competition from other internet service providers. It’s noted that the company enjoys sweeping monopolies in various areas of the country. However, that has not stopped unhappy customers looking to save money from getting rid of the TV portion of their Comcast service altogether — a practice known as “cord-cutting.”
Comcast isn’t known for having great customer service or even a good relationship with its customers. The data caps are seen as a passive-aggressive method of punishing customers for abandoning their TV service. Some are already waiting for Comcast to announce versions of this data cap to accompany the gigabit service.
There is presently confusion as to whether or not the faster internet will interfere with the data caps already put in place.
— Engadget (@engadget) December 27, 2015
It’s very likely that increased speed from Comcast will also mean higher prices. It’s not clear whether this means charging customers more based on internet service already provided or if the gigabit speed will be offered as a higher-tier premium option, but few anticipate that Comcast is merely upgrading its service as a courtesy.
It’s quite possible that their internet speed pricing will come to resemble the pricing already in place for their TV/internet bundles. The problem is that Comcast has — once again — underestimated its intended target while overestimated internet users’ attachment to their form of service.
— ALEC (@ALEC_states) December 23, 2015
Today, a growing number of people aren’t accessing the internet using computers at all; many use smartphones. Tech Times reports that home broadband service has reached a plateau, with smartphone internet access steadily increasing.
Something that is especially interesting is that as of now, 13 percent of Americans have never purchased broadband internet or TV. They have no need or interest in it. More than likely, these customers are young, having grown up using cell phones only to communicate, access the internet, and watch shows.
So, what does all this mean? Comcast may have gigabit service, but current trends do not suggest that this change will cause things to shift in the internet and TV service provider’s favor. Even though this speed allows them to come close to what other ISPs are offering, if Comcast wants to be truly competitive, an overhaul — no matter how expensive — would be necessary. As things stand, with Comcast customers leaving or scaling back service, it’s possible the business may reach a point where it can no longer afford to upgrade in a way that will make it truly competitive.
It’s also worth noting that if customer satisfaction remains low, even lightning-fast internet may fail to save it in the end. As for the gigabit service, it’s believed Comcast will make it available to customers nationwide by 2018.
[Image via Jeff Fusco/AP Images for Comcast]