Comcast and AT&T are now promising gigabit-speed broadband service to much of Bloomington, but the way each internet service provider do so will be very different.
The Wednesday night news of Comcast’s statewide Xfinity Gigabit service came just hours before AT&T announced its Internet 1000 launch in Bloomington and other Indiana markets. While both companies look to elevate Bloomington to gigabit speeds, AT&T will use a 100 percent fiber system and Comcast will provide the same speeds over an existing system that’s a hybrid of fiber and coaxial cable.
Both announcements this week come at a time when the city of Bloomington is investigating a citywide fiber infrastructure through the Canadian company Axia.
Comcast characterized its gigabit services as fast enough to download a 5 gigabyte high definition movie in 40 seconds, a 15 gigabyte video game in 2 minutes, a 150 megabyte digital media player (MP3) album in less than 2 seconds and a 600 megabyte television episode in 4 seconds.
Comcast is also reported to be accumulating rights to offer channels nationwide. Comcast has acquired rights through clauses in existing contracts or as part of broader carriage negotiations with programming providers. Even if it does not market a nationwide service, the cable company needs to be able compete with the flexibility offered by online services.
Comcast already controls NBCUniversal, but long-term deals with ABC and CBS would need to be renewed. Given its scale, Comcast should be in a strong position to extend current contracts.
This could enable Comcast to offer services in major markets like New York and Los Angeles, which are outside the cable footprint of its existing franchises.