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Comcast to make ultra-fast Internet available over existing lines

Comcast announced plans Tuesday to offer gigabit Internet service in the Chicago area over its existing lines.

The ultra-fast service should be available here in the second half of 2016. Comcast is rolling out the service in Atlanta and Nashville, then in Chicago, Detroit and Miami.

“This technology will not only provide more gigabit speed choices for customers, it will also eventually make these ultra-fast speeds available to the most homes in our service areas,” John Crowley, Comcast senior vice president for the Chicago area, said in a news release.

Pricing for the new service won’t be available until closer to when it is launched, the company said.

Using existing lines sets the new service apart from Comcast’s professional-grade residential fiber-optic Gigabit Pro service, launched in July, which usually requires installing a special cable to the home. Gigabit Pro offers upload and download speeds of 2 gigabits per second.

AT&T rolled out a high-speed Internet service in Chicago last June that the company said could download a high-definition movie in 36 seconds. AT&T’s service runs at 1 gigabit per second.

In December, Google invited Chicago to negotiate toward bringing Google Fiber service to the city. The company says its fiber optic service can deliver Internet speeds at more than 50 times the national broadband average.