As Comcast rolls out 10G internet service throughout Silicon Valley and the country, it wants to do more than increase speed — it wants to increase access.
“This is a network transformation that we're committing to roll out everywhere across our network,” said Elad Nafshi, Comcast chief network officer.
Comcast has upgraded 12 million customers, with a plan to upgrade the majority by the end of 2025, including local customers.
“We've been in the city of Palo Alto for years, and we want to make sure that we are taking care of our customers, and so this technology, our continued investment, it's just really exciting,” said Lennies Gutierrez, Comcast director of government affairs for South Bay and Southern Peninsula areas.
The 10G network is an evolving upgrade with multiple innovations.
“It's a combination of technology transformation that enables us to deliver what we believe is the best, most robust internet service going forward,” Nafshi said.
The service has several advantages, including speed and reliability, for which Comcast was honored with a Technology and Engineering Emmy Award.
“That technology enables us to deliver digital quality and fidelity all the way down to within a few hundred feet away from the customers' homes and, even more importantly, get real-time visibility, down-to-the-second visibility view of what the customer experience is and if there's anything that is impairing their services in any way, shape or form,” Nafshi said.
It will also deliver low latency, which is the amount of time it takes for a bit of data to travel from a sender to receiver and back to the sender. That means less lag time and a better user experience.
“Latency for many applications like communication services -- like gaming, like advanced virtual reality applications, etc. -- is actually even more important than speed,” Nafshi said.
The network will also be available across hundreds of thousands of fiber coaxial miles.
“This is a transformation that, unlike some of our competitors, we don't limit to certain areas,” Nafshi said. “We don't drive to certain communities over the others. We're very proud to be able to really drive it across our entire network.”
Finally, the network is secure for everything from video meetings to email to online doctor visits.
“With telemedicine, you want to make sure that the pipe that is being used in order to deliver data and consult with your doctor is highly secure,” Nafshi said.
Thanks to artificial intelligence, Comcast will be able to automatically detect problems in its network by analyzing thousands of data points across millions of devices. That machine learning will continually improve at optimizing the network.
“That same technology powers all of our fiber connectivity,” Nafshi said. “The same technology powers all of the power backup that we offer, in case there's any type of commercial power outages, and so on and so forth.”
Investing in communities
Comcast recently committed $700 million to projects for underserved communities, Nafshi said. Locally, the company visited the community of Planada in Merced County, where it donated $100,000 to charities and 100 laptops to eighth-graders.
“It was good to see the reaction and response of the kids as we were taking advantage of what we call Project UP, which is part of the Comcast commitment to bridging the digital divide,” Nafshi said.
In fact, Comcast’s Project UP is investing $1 billion over the next 10 years to increase broadband awareness, including for its Internet Essentials program, Gutierrez said.
“It's been great because in communities — whether it's urban or rural or a community like Palo Alto — working with school districts and working with different nonprofit organizations, part of what we want to do is get the message out that there is an affordable internet option available for families,” Gutierrez said.