Comcast starts rolling out gigabit internet access in Atlanta

Just be prepared to sign a contract if you want to avoid a crippling data cap.

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At last, Comcast's promised gigabit internet rollout is starting in earnest. The cable giant is beginning an "advanced consumer trial" of the extra-quick, DOCSIS 3.1-based broadband in multiple Atlanta neighborhoods, with additional cities coming this year. You'll have to make a big commitment if you want in, though. It costs $70 per month if you lock yourself into a 3-year contract, and it's an eye-watering $140 per month if you want the freedom to leave at any time. And it gets worse: if you don't commit to that contract, you'll have to accept a 300GB monthly data cap that's trivially low for the speed. Assuming you max out your connection, you could blow through your limit in 40 minutes.

There are plans to experiment with pricing in different areas, so don't despair (at least, not yet) about having to pay similar rates when the service reaches your neck of the woods. However, this isn't exactly going to make rivals sweat bullets. Alternatives like AT&T's GigaPower and Google Fiber typically charge $70 without such lengthy contracts, and they typically have much faster upload speeds (Comcast's is capped at 35Mbps). As DSLReports notes, this is really about tying you to your existing cable provider so that it's harder to switch to competitors when their gigabit-grade services arrive.