SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JULY 13: A Comcast service vehicle is seen parked on July 13, 2015 in San Francisco, California. Comcast announced plans to launch a streaming video service later this summer for Xfinity internet subscibers. The service called Stream will cost $15 a month. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Photo: Justin Sullivan
Photo: Justin Sullivan

2-gig Internet service now in Atlanta — at a price

As the internet connection wars heat up, Comcast has set pricing for its high-end, lightning-fast 2-gigabit service in metro Atlanta at $299 a month, though it will cut that to $159 initially.

Comcast also on Monday said it will boost the speed of its more standard Blast! 50 megabits connection to 75 megabits at no extra charge — though customers may need to restart or upgrade their modems. It’s also adding new service tiers of 150 megabits at $129.95 a month and 250 megabits at $149.95.

The giant cable and internet company had announced earlier this year that it would offer 2-gig connections here, following moves by AT&T and Google to bring 1-gig speed to the market. AT&T’s 1-gig service is already available in some areas. Initial pricing was $120 to $150 a month.

Comcast said GigabitPro 2-gig service is available to most metro customers who live within one-third of a mile of its fiber network. That covers the majority of metro residents, the company said. The service requires installation of new equipment, at fees that can run up to $1,000, according to Comcast’s website.

Either 1-gig or 2-gig connections are far faster – and for now much more expensive — than residential consumers typically use. A 2-gig connection can download an HD movie in about 12 seconds, vs. 24 for a 1-gig connection and 8 minutes for 50 megabits, for instance.

Experts say such speeds may be impractical and unaffordable for many consumers, but could be attractive for business uses and enable future applications.

Google last year said it plans 1-gig service in parts of metro Atlanta, though it did not set a start date or pricing. Google charges $70 a month for standalone internet in areas where it already offers the service.

Atlanta-based Cox Communications said it has offered gigabit service to businesses for a decade and sells residential gigabit service in six states. It plans to extend that to all 18 states it serves by the end of 2016, though Cox does not serve metro Atlanta. Cox Communications is a unit of Cox Enterprises, whose holdings also include The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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