Midcontinent plans to extend 1-Gig service to 3 Midwest states

Midcontinent Communications, a regional cable operator based in the Midwest, has become the latest service provider to enter the 1 Gbps fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) game, with plans to offer the service in various communities in South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota.

Set to be available by the end of 2017, Midcontinent said the first metro areas expected to have 1 Gbps service through its Gigabit Frontier Initiative are Fargo, Bismarck and Grand Forks, N.D., along with Sioux Falls and Rapid City, S.D.

While some 1 Gbps providers like Google Fiber (NASDAQ: GOOG) initially focused their attention solely on the residential market, Midcontinent said it will make 1 Gbps speeds available to about 600,000 homes and 55,000 businesses along a high-capacity fiber network that covers more than 7,600 miles.

"Midcontinent will make world-class, gigabit Internet access available to most of our customers by the end of 2017, and we're not limiting it to a few neighborhoods in the largest cities," said Pat McAdaragh, president and CEO of Midcontinent Communications, in a release.

Increasing Internet speeds has been an ongoing process for Midcontinent. In June, the service provider ramped up its download speeds of its traditional cable Internet service to 200 Mbps.

For this deployment, Midco said in a Telecompetitor article that it will use a mix of FTTP and the upcoming DOCSIS 3.1 technologies for the gigabit upgrades. The service provider already provides FTTP-based services for business customers and will offer symmetrical 1 Gbps speeds to this section of its customer base.

Midcontinent isn't the only cable operator to come to the realization that their existing DOCSIS and HFC infrastructure won't be able to accommodate the future needs of its customers.

A number of its fellow cable brothers, including Atlantic Broadband, Cox and Bright House, have launched similar 1 Gbps initiatives. Cox has set an ambitious plan to launch 1 Gbps FTTP services in 16 cities using a mix of DOCSIS 3.1 and traditional GPON technologies, for example. Some of the first markets to get Cox's service will be Phoenix and Virginia.

For more:
- see the release

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