Cox Communications plans to offer 1-gigabit Internet service to all of its residential customers in the Omaha area by mid-2016. The super-fast service is now available only to businesses and select residential areas in the metro area.

A 1-gigabit connection will cost residential customers about $99 a month, said Bruce Berkinshaw, director of product operations for Cox Communications’ central region.

Omaha is one of three metro areas where the company is fast-tracking its 1-gigabit expansion. The other two cities are Phoenix and Las Vegas.

Cox plans to offer the service to all its residential customers in all of its markets nationwide by the end of 2016.

In the next few weeks, Cox will begin advertising the capabilities of 1-gigabit service.

Berkinshaw said that the service is about six times faster than 150-megabits-per-second service, and 100 times faster than the national average of 11 Mbps. It takes about 30 seconds to download a full-length movie with 1 gigabit compared to 40 minutes or more at 11 Mbps.

Early this year, Cox began rolling out 1-gigabit service to residential customers in some apartment complexes and single-family homes in Omaha and Council Bluffs.

About three-quarters of Cox’s residential Internet customers now subscribe to its Preferred, Premier or Ultimate services.

Preferred offers 50 Mbps and costs about $50 a month. Premier delivers 100 Mbps for about $65 a month, and Ultimate offers 150 Mbps for $99 a month, Berkinshaw said.

Where available, 1-gigabit connections cost the same as 150 Mbps. There is no plan to adjust the rate, but Berkinshaw said that he’s confident there will be a discussion on the subject.

Rival CenturyLink currently offers 1-gigabit service to residential customers in some areas of Omaha, said company spokeswoman Rachel Woodman.

Both Cox and CenturyLink have offered speeds at and above 1-gigabit to the area’s largest businesses for several years.

Residential 1-gigabit service is a favorite of online gamers, but it could also provide a boost to home-based startups that connect with customers, work in the cloud and share large files.

Mark Hasebroock, founder of Dundee Venture Capital and co-founder of Hayneedle, said the increase in speed could help some home-based businesses if they have a need for that much file-sharing.

“At the end of the day, I’m always in favor of more speed and more capacity,” he said.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1142, janice.podsada@owh.com

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