The next-generation technology that will deliver gigabit Internet speeds moved from the laboratory to the living room late last month when we installed what we believe to be the world’s first DOCSIS 3.1 modem on a customer-facing network.

At a home in the Philadelphia area, we took the next important step forward in delivering gigabit speed broadband over our hybrid fiber coaxial network. The test used the standard cable connections that we have in homes across the country. All we needed was a new modem, a software upgrade to the device that serves that neighborhood, and a few good engineers.

Two months ago, we wrote that the future of gigabit technology was nearly here. Now we’ve seen it in action on our network.

We will continue testing over the coming months, as we get ready to start delivering DOCSIS 3.1-powered service to our customers. Before the end of 2016, we will begin offering a new gigabit speed choice that works over the existing connections in our customers’ homes in several parts of the country.

The beauty of DOCSIS 3.1 is that it is backwards compatible, so no digging up streets or backyards. This technology, when combined with the extensive upgrades we have already completed on our advanced Hybrid Fiber-Coaxial network, will provide more gigabit choices for our customers.

Over the coming months, we will activate more test homes with this state of the art DOCSIS 3.1 technology so that we can observe how it performs in multiple real-world environments and make whatever minor modifications necessary to get it ready for deployment to our customers.

Since installing the first live DOCSIS 3.1 modem here in Philadelphia, we’ve continued to expand the trials to additional locations in Pennsylvania, Northern California and Atlanta, Georgia. 

We still have a lot of work to do, but these tests confirm that DOCSIS 3.1 will work over our existing network as currently configured.