Comcast Corp., the largest cable operator in the U.S., has quietly begun extending fiber optic cable all the way to customers' homes in certain parts of its service area, a significant shift that could help the company better compete with all-fiber providers like Verizon Communications Inc. and Google Inc. on Internet speeds. For years, cable operators have run fiber optic cables, which have enormous bandwidth capacity, only to a central point in local areas, with lower-capacity coaxial cables wired to individual homes. That approach means cable subscribers have to effectively share bandwidth, putting cable operators at a disadvantage when competing with fully fiber TV and broadband providers like Verizon's FiOS that can offer more reliable, dedicated access. Fiber networks are also easier to upgrade for faster Internet speeds.
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