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Comcast is launching its new 1-gigabit-per-second internet service Tuesday, making Utah the first where the cable company has rolled out the super fast speeds to all its customers in a single state.
Comcast says anyone in its service area now may order the service, which the company is offering in competition with CenturyLink and Google Fiber, whose comparable services are available only in certain areas.
While Comcast has been testing the service in other areas, "Utah is the first state that gets it rolled out as a whole throughout our entire footprint," said Leslie Oliver, director of external affairs.
Many of Comcast's current internet customers receive a 150-megabit service now. It can download a two-hour movie in about a minute and a half. With the 1-gigabit service, that same movie will take eight seconds to download.
"We just not taking an incremental step here," said Mike Spaulding, Comcast's vice president of engineering. "We're taking a step forward in terms of speed availability to our consumers."
The cost is planned at $159.95 a month without a contract, but two promotions also are being tested to boost participation.
One will offer the service for $70 a month in certain Salt Lake City, Provo and North Ogden areas. The other promotion will be for $109.99 a month across the rest of the state.
The service runs over the company's existing cable network and requires only the installation of a modem with a built-in home wireless network.
It's the wireless component that excites Merlin Jensen, area vice president for Utah and Arizona.
"We will have the fastest in-home wireless experience for customers," he said.
Comcast's service area stretches north to south from Logan to Spanish Fork, and east to west from Park City/Heber City to Tooele.
CenturyLink has been offering super fast internet speeds in Utah starting at $79.99 a month. But it's not currently available in all areas served by the company, which is building a fiber-optic network.
Company spokeswoman Michelle Jackson said CenturyLink offers 1-gig service to more than 100,000 homes and businesses but wouldn't say how many now subscribe.
"We are continuing to aggressively expand our gigabit service offering to both businesses and residents," she said in a statement, which also said slower speeds were sufficient for most consumers.
Google Fiber currently offers 1-gig service in Provo and certain areas of Salt Lake City for $70 a month.
The company bought Provo's fiber optic network four years ago and has been building a network in Salt Lake City, where it now offers service in neighborhoods that include downtown and parts of the university area and Sugar House.
Google Fiber also said it is continuing to build its network to serve more homes and businesses.
But it's that piecemeal approach, and the need to build out networks before even being able to offer the speedy service, that Comcast apparently sees as its competitors' vulnerability.
"We will not be picking and choosing the areas where we will be launching this service," said Jensen.
Comcast customers can sign up beginning Tuesday for a visit by a technician to install the new service. The work can be done quickly for customers with Comcast wiring in their homes, officials said.
The company said it has invested $1.63 billion in Utah since 1996.