Comcast Goes For a Gig in Chicago

Comcast confirmed it will launch a 1 Gbps (downstream) consumer pilot offering in Chicago on Wednesday (August 17) powered by DOCSIS 3.1.

The debut, first reported by the Chicago Tribune, will mark Comcast’s third market to rollout DOCSIS 3.1, cable’s multi-gigabit platform for HFC networks, and will follow trials already underwayin Atlanta and Nashville.

Like those earlier launches in Atlanta and Nashville, the rollout in Chicago is also considered an “advanced consumer trial,” a Comcast official confirmed.

Comcast also announced plans to DOCSIS 3.1-based broadband service in Detroit and Miami later this year.

Comcast will sell 1-Gig in Chicago for $139.95 per month during the trial, but will also be testing promotional pricing in that region, with more specifics to be announced, an MSO official said. 

In Atlanta and Nashville, Comcast has been advertising a service that maxes out at 1 Gbps downstream and 35 Mbps upstream for $70 per month to customers who agree to a three-year contract, or a contract-free price of $139.95 per month.

Update: The promotional offer being tested in Chicago is $70 per month, plus unlimited data, when customers sign up for a 36-month contract, mirroring the promotional pricing the operator is piloting in Atlanta and Nashville. Comcast also operates a web site where customers can register to be alerted when the 1-Gig offering is available to them. 

Chicago is also the site of Comcast data-usage trial that limits monthly usage at 1 Terabyte, with the option to purchase additional buckets of 50 GBs of data for $10 each (up to a maximum of $200), or move to a new unlimited data plan that runs an additional $50 per month.  Comcast started to trial that plan in greater Chicago and its Northern Indiana systems on August 1 (subscription required). 

In Chicago, Comcast is sparring with AT&T, which launched its fiber-based GigaPower platform in parts of Chicago in 2015.

Comcast also offers a symmetrical 2 Gbps “Gigabit Pro” residential service in the Windy City that uses targeted deployments of fiber-to-the-premises technology and starts at $299.95 per month, with a two-year contract.