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Residential Demand Drives Gigabit Rollout in Connecticut

Atlantic Broadband, the latest entrant in cable’s Gigabit Club, is banking on bandwidth-hogging teenagers and their overworked parents clamoring for higher and higher data speeds.

ABB, which has about 300,000 residential and business customers in a service territory that includes western Pennsylvania, eastern Connecticut, southern Florida, Delaware, Maryland and South Carolina, launched its first system-wide 1-Gigabit per second service in Connecticut on Sept. 16. And though data speeds of that level are usually reserved for small-to-large businesses, ABB thinks the real market for ultra-high speed data is residential.

“This is going to be a more mainstream offering in the residential market sooner than people think,” Atlantic Broadband president and chief revenue officer David Isenberg said.

The Connecticut rollout involved about 37,000 homes and businesses passed in communities on the eastern side of the state, including East Lyme, New London, Niantic, Montville, Oakdale, Quaker Hill, Uncasville and Waterford. ABB is making the service available in both residential (GigaEdge) and commercial (Pro GigaEdge) forms. But for Isenberg, the real opportunity is in the home.

“Today families live their lives online,” Isenberg said. “When we asked people why they wanted this, we heard pretty commonly, ‘I have three kids, they’re all streaming stuff at different times; I need to do my work at home.’ It’s really about enabling families to do everything they need to do at once.”

Gigabit data offerings are becoming more and more common in the cable business, with Suddenlink Communications, Comcast, Cox Communications, AT&T and several other small and large operators rolling out the ultra-high-speed service.

While all of those operators offer residential 1-Gbps service, the prevailing wisdom had been that speeds of that nature are generally wasted on home-bound customers — most don’t need any more than 100 Mbps to watch Netflix and surf the Internet. But just as 100 Mbps seemed like overkill only a few years ago, customers are demanding more and more bandwidth to feed their growing online and video consumption needs.

Pricing for GigaEdge should also help attract residential customers. At $89.99 per month (stepping up to $119 per month after one year) it is only $40 more per month than ABB’s 250-Megabit service. For commercial customers, pricing for Pro GigaEdge is $249.99 per month.

Atlantic Broadband plans to make the service available in Miami next, as part of a $6 million infrastructure improvement program the company announced earlier