Technology evolves every second.
As it does, its advancement has forced internet service providers to keep up by investing in infrastructure to meet the demand of their tech-savvy customers for faster speeds.
Cox Communications, a major player in internet services in Gainesville, announced Wednesday it is now offering its “Gigablast” service in all of Gainesville, which will deliver gigabit internet speeds to residential home users who want to heavily stream movies, download or play internet games, among other uses, said Cam Johnson, public affairs manager for Cox’s Southeast region.
Johnson said gigabit internet, a technical term for faster-than-usual internet speeds, is best translated by describing what it can do.
According to the company, at speeds of one gigabit per second, its gigabit internet package can run all of a customer’s devices at the same time, stream more than 25 high-definition videos simultaneously and download a high-definition movie in less than 60 seconds.
It can also download 100 songs in three seconds and upload about 1,000 photographs in one minute.
Moving toward a faster, more-stable internet is also a move for the future, Johnson said.
Internal and external studies by the company suggest gigabit internet will be needed across the country by 2020, when the average home is expected to have up to 50 devices connected to WiFi at once.
“Over the next several years, it’s anticipated that everything is going to end up being connected, whether it’s your smartphones, tablets, TVs, or things of that nature,” Johnson said. “But you also have security cameras, lightbulbs, key locks, garage doors … I’ve even seen refrigerators and crockpots, so we needed faster speeds and connectivity.”
Cox determined that Gainesville, a city working to become a “smart city” through technology, was a place that needed such a service, Johnson said.
The company launched its first residential gigabit internet package at Park Avenue Apartments, 3800 NW 79th Terrace, in November 2016, and last week, became capable of offering the service to all of Gainesville.
Cox has invested $20 million into infrastructure here, Johnson said, including hardware and software.
The company doesn’t have immediate plans to expand Gigablast services beyond Gainesville’s city limits, but it won’t take long: The company plans to expand the service to 99 percent of its service area around the country in 2019.
Customers who purchase Cox’s Gigablast service will be issued a modem with DOCSIS 3.1 technology, which allows high internet speeds to be available without the use of a fiber optic cable inside the home, Johnson said.
Gigablast starts at $89.99, Johnson said, or about $40 more than Cox’s most basic internet package.
Assistant City Manager Dan Hoffman said the city was told of Cox’s plans to offer faster internet speeds in Gainesville recently and it’s something city officials welcome.
“I think any improvement in broadband connectivity in Gainesville, whether it increases speeds, access to internet or affordability, is something that we’re always happy to see,” he said. “We look forward to continue to explore options with Cox and any other internet providers that could help.”