As we’ve been saying for nearly three years, “gig speed” internet is right around the corner for small businesses. But here at HQ, three different providers have yet to come knocking on our door, despite our office being just a few feet away from the fiber that’s been laid for, well, nearly three years. Now, one of those providers has announced a whole new high-speed internet access service that requires no new fiber. Even better,  one of the first four markets they’re rolling out the new service is our hometown, Nashville. But don’t fret, they’ll be coming to your town soon, if you believe press releases.

Note: The editor made us add these 2 geek-glossary notes before jumping straight into the deep end of the Megabit pool.

1 | The acronym “DOCSIS” is from the term “Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification” and is a telecommunications standard that permits the addition of high-speed data transfer using an existing cable TV (CATV) system. When you see the term DOCSIS it will sometimes include the version number at the end of the acronym, (e.g., DOCSIS 3.1).

2 | 1 Gig speed refers to a super fast internet speed (super fast = 1,000 Megabits per second, or Mbps. 1,000 Mbps = a Gigabit per second, thus “1 Gig speed”). 500 speed refers to internet speed that’s 500 Mpgs. The speed of a typical fixed broadband connection to the internet in the U.S. is (are you sitting down?) 11 Mbps. But forget all this math. Here’s clever video to explain the difference in internet speeds.

So, where were we?

Comcast Business (a part of the giant cable and entertainment company) today announced it has begun offering two “speed tiers” of high-speed internet access to business customers in its Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit and Nashville service areas. Enabled by DOCSIS 3.1, Comcast will offer internet access in both 500 Mbps and 1,000 Mbps speeds. Branded “Business Internet 1 Gig” and “Business Internet 500,” the two speed tiers are now available to thousands of business customers in these Comcast service areas using the company’s existing network (i.e., no digging up streets like those Google Fiber folks).

For small and mid-sized businesses in buildings already served by Comcast, upgrading to Business Internet 1 Gig or Business Internet 500 will be as simple as calling Comcast or visiting to change their service, and ordering a new modem.

Without having to install fiber, Comcast has the potential to deploy gigabit service more widely across its existing network. Comcast has an additional enterprise internet service called Comcast Business Ethernet, which the company launched and has been expanding nationally since 2011. Those services can support speeds of 100 gigabits per second over fiber.

Don’t worry, the service is coming your way soon

In addition to the markets announced today, Comcast Business plans to launch Business Internet 1 Gig and Business Internet 500 in the majority of its service areas throughout 2017 and into 2018.

Pricing for the services varies based on a business’s location. (We’ll update this post after Comcast comes knocking on our door.)

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