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The Near Future of Super-Fast Internet
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The Future of Super-Fast Internet

Over the past decade, America has embarked on a technology transformation powered by constant connectivity. Today, most Americans have access to high-speed internet networks that have changed the way the live, work, learn and play. But ensuring that the U.S. remains a global internet leader means that our networks have to stay ahead of demand. We must transition from an era defined by megabits to one which gigabit connectivity is unleashed. Thanks to technologies already being deployed and some coming soon, that future is just around the corner.

This is the story of how we’re getting gigabit internet. And in some cases, how we already have it.

How Can Fast Internet
Change the World?

It can be difficult to imagine what super-fast gigabit internet really means. In some cases, it means an improved education, better entertainment, and easier communication. In other cases, it quite literally means changing people’s lives.

NCTA partnered with TED to ask, “How Can Fast Internet Change the World?”

How Cable Networks Deliver Ultra-Fast Internet

DOCSIS 3.1 Technology

Cable networks are able to deliver data to a consumer's home using a technology standard called DOCSIS.

DOCSIS is a set of instructions and rules governing how data is managed and delivered over cable networks. DOCSIS is, in essence, the technology that makes cable broadband work.

DOCSIS is Improving!

The current standard and still most commonly deployed, DOCSIS 3.0, is capable of delivering 900 megabits per second download speeds. The latest version, DOCSIS 3.1, tops out at a whopping 10 gigabits per second!

It doesn't do it just by adding more data channels. It does it by using advanced frequency techniques to allow more information to be encoded over the same wires.

And that's what makes DOCSIS 3.1 so remarkable - it expands internet speeds more than ten-fold via existing infrastructure.

Does anything have to change in order to get ready for DOCSIS 3.1?

Yes. Upgrades will be made to regional internet distribution facilities (also known as headends) to add new software and hardware components. These changes won't require installation of new cables or amplifiers which is why DOCSIS 3.1 will become available so quickly.

As ISPs upgrade their networks for DOCSIS 3.1, you will need to get a new modem designed to deliver the super speeds made possible by the upgrade.

So When Will I Get Gigabit Broadband?

Some cable customers already have it. More will get it in the coming months. Soon we expect more people will get gigabit broadband from cable than from any other internet technology.