Cox Communications has launched its first residential “gigabit” Internet service in Tucson, though it will be several years before the ultra-fast service is widely available here.
The Tucson area’s biggest cable provider will begin offering its residential “G1gablast” service — offering download speeds up to a gigabit, or 1,000 megabits, per second — at The Place at Presidio Trails, a new apartment complex in east Tucson.
Cox says the first phase of the rollout, which involves installation of new fiber-optic lines, will soon include another east-side apartment community, an adult community in Sahuarita and a new single-family home development in east Tucson near Vail.
With the ability to download a high-definition movie in one minute, G1gablast is more than five times faster than Cox’s current fastest residential service widely available in Tucson, which provides download speeds of up to 200 megabits per second.
Cox plans to deploy its gigabit service in all of its markets by the end of 2016, though it will likely take several years to completely roll the service out across its territory, Cox spokeswoman Andrea Katsenes said.
Cox has offered fiber-optic-based gigabit Internet service to local business customers since 2011 and started offering the service to residential customers in select areas in and around Phoenix in 2014.
“We will continue rollout in 2017 and beyond until all homes are serviceable,” Katsenes said.
The G1gablast residential service will cost $99.99 per month as part of the most popular Cox service bundles, or $119.99 per month on a standalone service.
“Gigabit speeds, coupled with the investment of nearly 1,000 Wi-Fi hot spots in Tucson, are powering economic growth and development for businesses and residents of the communities we serve,” Lisa Lovallo, Cox market vice president for Southern Arizona, said in announcing the new service rollout.
Along with The Place at Presidio Trails, 9190 E. Old Spanish Trail, the first phase of Cox’s residential gigabit rollout in Tucson will include The Place at Old Spanish Trail, 8601 E. Old Spanish Trail; Quail Creek, an adult community in Sahuarita; and Mountain Vail Reserve, a KB Home new-home development new Old Vail and Houghton roads.
Katsenes said Cox will alert residents as gigabit services become available in their area through things like door-hanger fliers and local advertising. Customers can also visit www.cox.com/gig and enter their address to see if the service is available in their area, or to sign up for updates.
Cox says it has increased broadband speeds more than 1,000 percent over the past 15 years, last year making its “starter” package five times faster and its higher-priced “essential” package three times faster.
According to the Federal Communications Commission, Internet access speeds of 1 to 2 megabits per second are fine for basic usage by single home users, with speeds of 6 to 15 Mbps and up recommended for heavy data uses such as video conferencing and online gaming, or multiple heavy users.
Other Internet providers are slowly rolling out gigabit services, driven in part by Google’s foray into superfast Internet access.
Phone-company rival CenturyLink launched a gigabit service for business customers in Tucson in 2014 and began offering it to residential customers in the Phoenix area last fall.
Comcast, which provides cable service to outlying areas of Tucson and Pima County, offers residential service with download speeds of up to 505 Mbps here. The company has started to deploy gigabit service in major markets elsewhere, and is testing a technology to provide the superfast service to homes over existing coaxial cable.
Phoenix also is on a list of “potential” sites for Google Fiber, a gigabit Internet service now offered by the technology giant in selected areas of Kansas City, Missouri; Austin, Texas; and Provo, Utah, with plans to add several more cities.