David-CohenAs far as Comcast is concerned, gigabit broadband is more bandwidth than consumers want, though they might not know it.

In an editorial published today in the Philadelphia Inquirer, David L. Cohen, Comcast’s Executive Vice President, took aim at criticism leveled at the U.S. telecommunications industry regarding high speed broadband.

“For some, the discussion about the broadband Internet seems to begin and end on the issue of “gigabit” access,” he wrote. “The issue with such speed is really more about demand than supply. Our business customers can already order 10-gig connections. Most websites can’t deliver content as fast as current networks move, and most U.S. homes have routers that can’t support the speed already available to the home.”

He continued by praising the leadership of U.S. in providing broadband, something that other reports have noted isn’t quite as strong. The FCC issued a report in 2011 which indicated that U.S. ranks 9th overall for mobile broadband adoption and 12th for fixed broadband, behind countries such as Germany and South Korea. Cohen wrote:

As consumer demand grows for faster speeds, a competitive marketplace of wired and wireless broadband providers will be ready to serve it. Today there is a cottage industry of critics who always want to tell us that our broadband Internet is not fast enough or satisfactory for one reason or another. The reality is that the United States is leading the way in speed, reach, and access — and doing so in a vast, rural nation that poses logistical connectivity challenges unlike any other country. In other words, because consumer-quality routers aren’t equipped to deal with that much bandwidth, making speeds like that accessible to users isn’t worth it.

Those comments seem odd, considering that almost 1,100 communities applied to be the testbed for gigabit Internet via Google Fiber. That service currently offers consumers in Kansas City around 10 times the speed of Comcast’s fastest consumer plan for a fraction of that price, and plans include a router that is specifically designed to handle gigabit-speed traffic.

What do you think? Are you ready for gigabit broadband?

Previously on GeekWire: Mapping Seattle’s gigabit Internet plans: Are you in or out?

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  • elbowman

    It seems a bit disingenuous for a purveyor of video content for a fee to say America’s not ready for gigabit internet connections. If more Americans had gigabit connections they could stream their video content from the web and avoid paying for his service.

    Just sayin’…

  • Joshua

    Not ready for just means not willing to pay for infrastructure upgrades to provide better, cheaper service. If Comcast isn’t willing to provide the service and someone steps into that space we’ll see what consumers have to say about it (once everyone’s contracts expire and they’re free to switch).

    • elbowman

      The problem we have is most communities (city governments) have entered into agreements with Comcast to make them the only game in town. Competition is kept away. Many people don’t have choices. Due to geography my only choice is Comcast.

  • Kevin Pierce

    Don’t you just love it when someone who makes $15 Million per year speaks up for the common man!

  • D

    I’m ready to not use Comcast, that’s for sure.

    • Bob Roberts

      I agree Try XBMC (XBMCHUB.com) but i cant wait for this!!!!

  • Patrick Husting

    Bring it on, I’m ready to cut the cord!

  • billy

    What it is all about is competition for crookcast….

  • Guest

    I’m ready. Comcast is clearly threatened. More bandwidth means more of my dollars.

  • 509

    My daughter has the misfortune to live in Seattle and has Comcast as her provider. After living with fiber in Wenatchee she is so ready for Seattle to join the 21st century.

    • guest

      I always had my friend in Moses Lake host our games Online since he had fiber for $30/month.

    • Shane Clyburn


      Rolling out this year, though limited at first.

  • http://thinkspace.com Peter Chee

    It’s so great when companies tell consumers what they need or don’t need. Comcast too big to fail.

  • http://blog.findwell.com Kevin Lisota

    Really? The bottleneck is consumer-quality routers? Of course the electronics industry doesn’t have updated equipment they can sell to take advantage of the speed. I am sold on just hanging on to my slow connection speed after reading this.

  • US Ignite

    In short, “It’s the applications, stupid.”

    In longer form, this is not a future debate. The next generation gigabit Internet is officially arriving in cities across America right now. Google Fiber is up and running in Kansas City. Chattanooga, Tennessee has had its network running through its public utility EPB for three years now, and many more cities, from Chicago to Red Wing, Minnesota, have announced “gigabit” initiatives in recent months.

    As these new efforts in civic infrastructure sprout up, tech journalists, telecom executives, web developers and citizens alike have naturally begun asking what that kind of speed really means.

    — But just focusing on speed misses the point by missing the possibilities. —

    The next generation “gigabit” Internet is not only about going faster, it’s about completely changing how we approach everything from education to health care, as we transition to an Internet of Immersive Experience.

    In the early twentieth century, many families whose homes were being connected to the electric grid wanted only light bulbs, because light was all they knew electricity could “do.” There was little, if any, awareness that electricity would ultimately power almost all the “applications” around us — fundamentally changing every single experience we have in our homes, businesses, and lives.

    The same kind of transformation will be powered by the gigabit Internet, and it’s short-sighted for journalists and policy-makers to focus on Internet speeds alone. It leads Americans to think “Gigabit Internet equals faster movie downloads.”

    This is why initiatives like ours (US Ignite) and projects that foster the next-generation of applications and services are so critical.


  • RunTheNumbers

    In a chatroom somewhere, internet user Daniel Kaffee confronts Comcast Executive VP Nathan R. Jessup.

    Jessup: You want connectivity?
    Kaffee: I think I’m entitled to it.
    Jessup: Do you want connectivity?

    Kaffee: I want the gigabit!


    Son, we live in a world that has firewalls, and those firewalls have to be guarded by bandwidth limitations. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Mr. Zuckerburg?

    I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for 10 MB download/256K upload speeds and you curse Comcast. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That bounded bandwidth speeds, while slow, probably saves costs. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves costs.

    You don’t want the gigabit because deep down inside you don’t chat about it in Google Hangouts. You WANT me to limit bandwidth, you NEED me to limit bandwidth. We use words like packets, IP addresses, DNS. We use these words for the internet backbone and a lifetime spent supporting five nines uptime. You use them as a punchline.

    I have neither the time, nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who tweets and updates his Facebook status on the very bandwidth that I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it. I’d rather you just said thank you, and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a router and plug in a switch; either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to!

  • Larry

    Sounds like Comcast and the rest of the telco’s just don’t care about you, if you live in a rural area. Not enough profit for the maintenance required. If Comcrap would just replace its unstable shoddy copper wire with fiber, this would be a non issue. Instead, bleed us dry with crappy service, outages at the drop of a hat and customer service that leaves you better off in prison camp. When I had Comcrap 4 years ago, bandwidth was unfathomably sporadic. I’d use online tools to traceroute and find a bottleneck. Comcrap could have gave a crap. I have DSL and DirectTV and over the last 4 years have lost signal 3 times, which is far better than Comcrap where we’d lose service 6 times in a year! Comcrap sent a guy around to try to get us to switch. He tried to make having satellite tv seem like a bad thing. I felt bad for the guy, but he came to THE wrong house! I mentioned to him that when we cancelled cable last, we were supposed to get a credit of $10. We got the runaround just trying to get it back. Six months later after calling every 2 months, we got our $10 check. They are losing the battle. Excuses like people don’t have the proper router, is just a lame-ass excuse. Make the speed available, hell even offer a router that works with it, people will get it or one that works. People who live in rural areas aint shy o booklarnin dinkus!

  • http://ClaussConcept.com Jason Gerard Clauss

    Typical sniveling establishment tool.

  • Kaci

    Easy for him to say. I’m a 65 yr old woman and I would love to have faster internet. Who with half a brain wouldn’t??!! What a load of —-p!

  • The Grey Forest

    “…the United States is leading the way in speed, reach, and access” ??? is a blatant lie, compared to global speeds the USA isn’t even in the top 10 ! wth Cohen! I have one word for you sir, MONOPOLY.

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