Nov. 26 2018 — The top 25 U.S. cable and telco wireline ISPs all offer a gigabit internet tiers, according to Kagan’s latest survey of the gigabit-broadband landscape. Leveraging a mix of fiber, DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1 technologies, these operators have activated at least a portion of their footprints to provide access to gigabit speeds. Overall, an estimated 60% of US households have access to gigabit Internet.
Three distinct technologies are in play. Telcos are deploying fiber for symmetrical gigabit offerings. Large cable operators, on the other hand, have opted to deploy DOCSIS 3.1 technology, which leverages existing coaxial infrastructure with a new modulation scheme and modems. A subset of smaller cable operators, meanwhile, have chosen to bond DOCSIS 3.0 channels to provide their gigabit Internet tier. DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1 technologies, while allowing for downstream gig speeds, are not able to provide symmetrical upload speeds.
While fiber-based gigabit accessibility may be limited within a launched location (particularly at first), DOCSIS 3.1 enables operators to upgrade more quickly to the faster tier using their existing networks. This has allowed large and small cable operators to deploy the service tier rapidly.
Kagan’s October 2018 survey takes into account the top 25 telco and cable ISPs providing gigabit tier within their respective footprints. The data encompasses over 3,000 locations in 49 states (with only Montana without a gigabit tier, among states surveyed) and Washington, D.C. Locations are a mix of metro and small towns, and are subject to varying definitions by the surveyed operators. The location count is up from just a handful that featured the tier a few years ago, following Alphabet Inc.'s Google Fiber launch of its initial offering in Kansas City, Mo.-Ks.