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Rogers Communications will make the higher speeds available to its entire footprint – which covers four million customers – in 2016.

MARK BLINCH/REUTERS

Rogers Communications Inc. is preparing to roll out "gigabit" download speeds to its broadband Internet customers.

The Toronto-based cable and wireless company is set to announce its plans at a midday press event on Monday and will begin offering download speeds of up to 1 Gb per second in parts of Toronto as well as Vaughan, Markham, Richmond Hill, Ajax, Pickering and Whitby later this year. It will make the higher speeds available to its entire footprint – which covers four million customers – in 2016.

The move is in part a bid to reclaim some of the attention Rogers' telephone company rivals BCE Inc. and Telus Corp. have been attracting lately as they announce billion-dollar investments in fibre-optic builds in cities across the country.

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Telephone companies and cable operators face different challenges as they upgrade their legacy infrastructure and the copper wires that link the "last mile" between their core networks and their customers' homes.

Both types of operators commonly install fibre directly in new developments and have wired much of their core networks with fibre. But telcos face a more pressing demand to bring fibre directly to customers' doors sooner.

Telephone companies can deliver Internet download speeds in the range of 25 megabits per second (Mbps) to 50 Mbps in areas where they have deployed fibre to the neighbourhood but not right to the home. Meanwhile, cable operators have been able to use newer generations of DOCSIS (data over cable service interface specification) technology to deliver increasingly fast broadband Internet speeds surpassing 200 Mbps over their existing copper wires.

Now, cable companies are beginning to deploy even newer versions of DOCSIS to reach gigabit speeds.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to indicate Rogers will offer download speeds of 1 Gb (gigabit) per second, not 1 GB (gigabyte), which is a different and larger measurement.

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