Cottonwood Heights considers Comcast for fiberSep 03, 2022 12:10PM ● By Cassie Goff
By Cassie Goff | [email protected]
As the Cottonwood Heights City Council continues their consideration of implementing fiber throughout the city, the long-awaited presentation from Comcast Fiber occurred July 19. Comcast’s Government Affairs Manager Joseph Silverzweig presented an overview of Comcast’s services, company and network.
“Our goal is to provide 21st-century entertainment for communities,” Silverzweig said. “We bring a suite of services that come with internet at the door.”
For Comcast, Cottonwood Heights is an almost entirely built-out community. In their most recent serviceability analysis, nine gaps in service were identified throughout the city. Some of those gaps were the result of previous agreements with developers where Comcast was not allowed. Silverzweig provided the Giverny development along Wasatch Boulevard as an example.
“Cottonwood Heights is already very well connected,” Silverzweig said.
Comcast plans to have complete coverage within Cottonwood Heights by 2023, with no taxpayer cost or city risk. Main fiber lines are already running underground throughout the city, with additional aerial fiber connections. To eliminate gaps in service within the city, Comcast has already committed to an investment of $1.25 million for an additional 442 passings.
“Depending on winter weather, it should be done by summer,” Silverzweig said.
Silverzweig explained to the council that Comcast services do utilize fiber connections. 800,000 miles of fiber infrastructure is currently used as a backfall for the network.
“We invested $4.2 billion into the network in 2021 alone,” Silverzweig said.
Cotttonwood Heights Mayor Mike Weichers asked Silverzweig about how Comcast uses micro-trenching for their fiber infrastructure. Silverzweig reported that Comcast only micro-trenches in narrow slices. They use a micro-conduit that adapts to weather elements so it does not create problems.
Silverzweig explained that there are no contracts, no device fees, and no data caps for Comcast customers nationwide while offering unlimited data and wireless for all services. Comcast customers can choose to pay for 6G symmetrical speeds, if desired.
“Our existing customers may not be on unlimited plans because those were really implemented last year. We can get those rolled over to unlimited,” Silverzweig said.
On average, Comcast finds most customers require a high download speed as most use about 13 times more download bandwidth than upload bandwidth. Seventy-one percent of their total download traffic is video streaming, with 11% being video gaming. (Netflix and other streaming services require a 600-700 download speed.)
“I can start a movie on my television at home. At the same time, I can stream a video in the other room and have something on my laptop. On the train the next day, I can start that same movie in the place I left off,” Silverzweig said.
Mayor Weichers inquired about slowing down speeds within the network during busy hours.
“Comcast doesn’t slow down speeds and we don’t throttle speeds,” Silverzweig said. “We guarantee our actual contracted speed all the time. Every customer has access to our best speeds.”
Looking back on their data from 2020, Comcast noticed that download traffic increased more than double the upload traffic. Now, even though people are heading back into the office, demand hasn’t changed.
“We have shifted from a quality product to something that is essential for everyone’s day to day lives,” Silverzweig said.
As part of Covid-19 relief federal funding, Comcast has been able to provide internet essentials for $10 per month with a wireless router and literacy access to those who qualify. Silverzweig now expects this funding program to remain permanent.
Looking forward, Comcast expects a dramatic increase in upload speeds in the next five to 10 years. They will be working to improve uploading speed capability, build capacity, make changes with their software, and aim for a 1,000 download speed for all customers.
Comcast has been able to utilize fiber connections to Hyatt House, Overstock.com, Larry H. Miller, Ken Garff, Domo, the State of Utah, Salt Lake City International Airport, Fusion, Morinda, Vail Resorts and American Furniture Warehouse.
Three primary businesses nestled under Comcast are Comcast Cable, NBCUniversal and Sky. Residential services include X1 Entertainment Operating System, Xfinity Internet, Xfinity Home, Xfinity Mobile and Xfinity Voice.