Comcast announced on its blog this week that its engineers have successfully tested a DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem on a residential network for the first time. DOCSIS 3.1 has the potential to enable download speeds as fast as 10 Gbps. Best of all, this standard is backwards-compatible, meaning those next-gen speeds are possible over the hybrid fiber-coaxial networks already in use by multiple Internet service providers. As Comcast says, "all we needed was a new modem, a software upgrade to the device that serves that neighborhood, and a few good engineers."
The blog post neglected to mention if the Philadelphia test actually achieved gigabit speeds or higher, although Comcast noted more than once that successfully operating a DOCSIS 3.1 modem on its current infrastructure is a big milestone towards the goal of widely offering gigabit internet.
The company noted in October that the SCTE Expo was brimming with DOCSIS 3.1 tech this year, and it believes that 2016 is the year we'll start to see that standard brought to application. According to the announcement, Comcast will continue to test and develop its DOCSIS 3.1 deployments in anticipation of rolling out gigabit-class internet to its residential customers in several parts of the US before this time next year. Since the Philadelphia test, Comcast has begun similar tests in other areas of Pennsylvania, Northern California, and Atlanta, Georgia.