updated 12:15 pm EDT, Thu June 16, 2011
Comcast CEO demos 1Gbps Internet at Cable Show
Comcast chief Brian Roberts during his turn on stage at the Cable Show on Thursday showed an example of the practical possibilities of cable modem Internet access in the future. Using a 1.08Gbps testbed, the executive successfully downloaded a 23-episode season of 30 Rock in about 99 seconds. The best current cable Internet access in the US tops out at about 100Mbps.
Also at the show floor was a 100Mbps symmetrical connection that used channel bonding to get historically slow upload speeds to match those for the downloads. At these speeds, a 2GB file transfers in less than three minutes regardless of the direction.
Roberts didn't say how soon the 1Gbps service would arrive, although it might not arrive for some time. First hints of Comcast's 100Mbps-plus service arrived in early 2010 but didn't roll out in earnest until late that same year. Comcast would not only have to upgrade users' modems but also much of the node hardware to address the new capacity.
The move may be partly an attempt to head off or even court Google Fiber. Although it's not acting as a direct Internet provider, Google is offering its 1Gbps service as a backbone for other companies that could undermine Comcast and its kind if they don't follow suit.