According to Kagan's latest survey of the gigabit broadband landscape, the top 25 U.S. cable and telco wireline Internet service providers (ISPs) all offer gigabit Internet tiers. Leveraging a mix of fiber, DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1 technologies, the operators have activated at least a portion of their footprints to provide access to gigabit speeds. Overall, an estimated 60% of U.S. households have access to gigabit Internet.
Telcos are deploying fiber for symmetrical gigabit offerings. Cable operators have largely opted to deploy DOCSIS 3.1 technology, which leverages existing coaxial infrastructure with a new modulation scheme and modems. Some smaller cable operators have chosen to bond DOCSIS 3.0 channels to provide their gigabit Internet tier. DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1 technologies, while allowing for downstream gigabit speeds, are not able to provide symmetrical upload speeds.
While fiber-based gigabit accessibility may be limited within a launched location (particularly at first), DOCSIS 3.1 enables operators to upgrade more quickly to the faster tier using their existing networks. This has allowed large and small cable operators alike to deploy the service tier rapidly.
Kagan's October 2018 survey took into account the top 25 telco and cable ISPs providing gigabit service within their respective footprints. The data encompasses more than 3,000 locations in 49 states (with only Montana without a gigabit tier, among states surveyed) and Washington DC. Locations are a mix of metro and small towns, and are subject to varying definitions by the surveyed operators. The location count is up from just a handful that featured the tier a few years ago, following Google Fiber's launch of its initial offering in Kansas City.