Comcast said it doesn’t see 5G home internet as a threat in the intensifying race to provide reliable high-speed internet to consumers. The telecommunications company believes radio spectrum limitations will cause issues for the new technology in the future.
Instead, Comcast views fiber broadband as its biggest long-term competitor because internet connection option is available in 50% of the company’s territory.
“The good news is that we’ve competed against fiber for 20 years. We know how to compete against fiber,” Comcast president Mike Cavanagh said Monday at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference.
Downplaying the momentum of 5G home internet is a common talking point among cable executives. Previously, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and Charter CEO Christopher Winfrey downplayed the quality and speed of the services, touting the higher reliability that comes with cable and, in particular, fiber internet. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that 5G home internet makes up almost the entirety of broadband growth each month.
Cavanagh wanted to focus on fiber, and expects it will continue to grow in the future. The company plans to continue upgrading its network while promoting its hybrid cable TV-streaming Xumo device, further growing its mobile offerings, and exploring potential bundle deals, according to Policyband.
Last month, fiber had hit a major milestone with more than half of the U.S. having access to the service. Fiber is a worthy competitor due to its reliability, faster upload speeds, and multiple plan options amid the surge in alternative internet services like 5G home internet and Starlink’s satellite-based services.
The potential of 5G has sparked the interest of mobile carriers. Even though providers like AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon are actively pushing 5G home internet services, the companies still recognize the value of fiber. Verizon and AT&T continue to spend billions of dollars on fiber infrastructure, while T-Mobile has been experimenting with small deployments. But even T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert has said that 5G home internet may have a limited market opportunity unless it decides to invest in new infrastructure.
While the future of 5G home internet is uncertain, experts say the technology is growing and customers are interested. Horowitz Research found that 49% of TV content viewers (surveyed in a recent report) who do not have 5G home internet are likely to subscribe when the service becomes available in their area.
Price and value are also contributing to the new technology’s edge over cable offerings. This is a major incentive for customers looking to save money.
Only time will tell what the future of internet access will look like as 5G and fiber expand, increasingly pulling customers away from traditional cable.