Forget all the chatter about net neutrality: Cox Communications, the third-largest broadband provider in the United States, is moving forward this year with a plan to offer residential customers gigabit Internet connection speeds. The Atlanta-based communications company has already offered that speed to its commercial customers, but is now following in the footsteps of Google Fiber and AT&T to be among the first cable companies to enhance its portfolio of offerings to homeowners.Cox will first roll out its gigabit service in Phoenix; Omaha, Nebraska; and Las Vegas later this year. The company’s other customers will have to wait until 2016 for the service to expand. But connection speeds for those customers will double in the meantime, with the company’s slower connection increasing from 25Mbps to 50Mbps, and higher-speed connection increasing from 50Mbps to 100Mbps.
Currently, some residential customers can get connection speeds up to 505Mbps, which is roughly one-half of the gigabit-connection speed Cox plans to offer by the end of the year. But few of them do. According to Akamai, the average American household connects at 10Mbps. Odds are that your Internet connection at home seems fast enough now. If you’re connecting at the American average, though, could you imagine connecting at a speed that’s 100 times faster!
Gigabit connections will likely become more pervasive—and even the norm. And what that means for over-the-top (OTT) content, TV Everywhere and the consumer is beyond exciting. Faster connections mean we’ll be able to consume higher-quality content without interruption. If the future of content is OTT, at the very least, cable providers that bolster their broadband offerings will further entrench themselves in a market of ongoing relevance.