In a potentially ground-breaking development, Comcast announced that it has taken steps to launch the first broadband network to be based on the DOCSIS 3.1 protocol, which promises to deliver gigabit-speed connectivity to subscribers through existing hybrid fiber/coaxial lines and with a simple change of modems and software. DOCSIS technology enables cable companies to offer broadband Internet service over the same lines that are used to deliver television services to customers. While Comcast already provides gigabit-speed broadband services to customers through its “Gigabit Pro” program, the service requires significant infrastructure upgrades that contribute, in part, to its hefty monthly price tag of $300.   With DOCSIS 3.1, Comcast could deploy the same lightning-fast service to customers through existing cable connections at a potentially lower cost and without changes in wiring. Citing the results of DOCSIS 3.1 technology tests conducted recently at a Philadelphia area home, Comcast Executive Vice President Toney Werner quipped in a blog post: “all we needed was a new modem, a software upgrade to the device that serves the neighborhood, and a few good engineers.” Comcast (which has yet to determine pricing for the new DOCSIS 3.1 gigabit broadband service) plans to continue testing in the Philadelphia area and hopes to expand the service throughout Pennsylvania and to the Atlanta and Northern California markets by the end of 2016.