comcast cable modem AP

Comcast announced this week that it has successfully tested the world's first DOCSIS 3.1 modem in Philadelphia.

That probably sounds like a mumbo-jumbo to you, so let's put it in simple terms. This means Comcast has figured out how to use its existing cable lines to deliver super-fast gigabit internet speeds without having to do major work on its current infrastructure. 

Gigabit internet is broadband that delivers download speeds of 1,000 megabits per second (Mbps) or better. That's at least 10 times faster than what you get today from your cable modem.

Usually, gigabit internet requires internet providers to install new fiber lines in the cities they serve. It's an expensive, lengthy process, and cable companies aren't always incentivized to invest that much in the technology.

But Comcast's technology appears to be more promising since a lot of the upgrades can be done with software enhancements to its existing infrastructure. It also means Comcast will be able to offer gigabit internet to its customers a lot sooner than other cable companies can.

Comcast says it'll start testing the new technology in more homes in 2016 and expand from there.

The breakthrough means a lot more for you other than faster internet speeds. And it's not all good.

It'll give Comcast the option to charge you more for a higher tier of premium internet service. And faster data speeds means customers are more likely to use more data each month, which plays into the company's long-term strategy of charging you based on how much you use.