Faster gigabit Internet speeds now available in all of Omaha

December 22, 2018

Faster than a speeding cat video. More powerful than three kids playing online shooter Fortnite. Omaha is bounding into the ranks of “gig cities,” those that offer residents gigabit Internet speeds no matter where they live.

Cox Communications plans to announce Friday that it is making its faster Internet speeds available citywide, officials confirmed this week, including suburban areas and sanitary improvement districts served by Cox. Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert will participate in the announcement.

She said gigabit Internet service would be a good marketing tool when it comes to young professionals.

“Recruiting and developing our workforce requires Omaha to compete at a high level,” she said.

David Brown, president and CEO of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, agreed that the super-fast Internet service would add a feather in Omaha’s cap.

“As we work to attract new talent to help power our future, this is another distinguishing, quality-of-life factor for us to shout about,” he said.

In Nebraska, the list of Cox communities rolling out broad residential access to gigabit speeds will include Bellevue, Ralston, Papillion, Gretna and Valley. In Iowa, it includes Council Bluffs, Carter Lake and Crescent.

Gigabit Internet, with downloads fast enough to stream ultra high-definition video in 4K while gaming online and surfing the Web simultaneously, has a cost. Cox expects to charge customers between $99 and $120 a month.

Local broadband buyers in select neighborhoods can access similarly fast service from CenturyLink for about $60 to $85 a month.

Nearly 86 percent of Nebraskans have access or the ability to purchase to broadband Internet from at least two providers, according to Federal Communications Commission data. Nebraska broadband customers’ average Internet speed is 27.1 megabits per second, according to BroadbandNow, a group that advocates for increased broadband access.

Gigabit service promises speeds of up to 1,000 megabits per second.

Faster, more cost-effective Internet service can boost productivity by helping an increasing number of people accomplish more daily, said Anne Branigan, senior vice president of innovative services for the chamber.

Among neighboring cities, Lincoln already offers citywide gigabit speeds through Allo Communications, city officials there said Thursday.

Cox has offered its Omaha-area business customers gigabit Internet speeds for years. Residential deployment of such fast speeds began in the Omaha area in 2017, part of a $50 million investment in the residential network.

The reason: People are using more connected devices in their homes more often, and Cox wanted to get its network ready to meet that growing demand, Cox spokeswoman Calli Hite said.

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