Comcast rolls out gigabit internet in Seattle and other cities, at $160/month, or $110/month with 1-year contract

Comcast customers in Seattle, as well as other parts of Washington now have access to gigabit internet service.

The company on Wednesday announced the extension of the high-speed service to Seattle, as well as the cities of Burien, Kent, Renton, SeaTac, Tukwila, Vancouver, Vashon Island, with access coming to Bellevue and Tacoma later this year. The rollout also includes Oregon, Northern California, Utah, Colorado, Kansas City and Houston.

Comcast said it will use DOCSIS 3.1 technology that lets the company deliver gigabit internet over existing communication lines into homes, rather than having to build out new infrastructure to support the increased speeds.

“We are excited to be able to provide our Seattle residential customers with 1 Gig speeds using their existing home wiring,” Amy Lynch, Comcast’s regional senior vice president said in a statement. “We know Seattle is a hub of tech innovation and are committed to ensuring our customers have the speeds and reliability they need to do great things, even if it’s from the comfort of their couch.”

Comcast’s xFi device. (Comcast Photo)

All that speed won’t come cheap. Comcast says the price for its new gigabit service will start at $159.95 per month for customers without a contract, and the company is also testing a $109.99 monthly promotional price for those who agree to a one-year commitment. For people who want to buy their own modem, rather than rent one from Comcast for up to $10 per month, the upgrade to DOCSIS 3.1 can be expensive: $160 or more for a compatible modem alone.

According to the city of Seattle, more than 170,000 households in the city already had access to gigabit internet from CenturyLink and Wave Broadband. Wave’s gigabit service is advertised at a cost of $80 per month, and CenturyLink offers its super-fast service for $79.95 per month as part of a package with Prism TV and $149.95 without a bundle or contract. It is unclear exactly how many Seattle residents now have access to gigabit internet with Comcast’s expansion.

“All Seattle residents need access to competitive internet options,” Michael Mattmiller, chief technology officer for the city of Seattle, said in a statement. “Today’s announcement means that the vast majority of Seattle residents have access to gigabit broadband internet service, increasing economic and educational opportunities that will improve our community’s quality of life.”

The expansion of gigabit Internet just a few weeks after Comcast introduced xFi, a new digital dashboard that also lets users see what devices are connected and their usage data; set parental controls and WiFi passwords; troubleshoot issues; and set up WiFi. That information could come in handy as Comcast rolled out 1TB data caps to large parts of the country, including Washington, Oregon and California last year.