Artwork for podcast Around the House® Home Improvement: Expert Advice for your Home
The Road to 10g Internet. We talk ultra fast internet speeds with Comcast
Episode 14627th January 2023 • Around the House® Home Improvement: Expert Advice for your Home • Eric Goranson
00:00:00 00:40:18

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We sit down and talk about where home tech is going with super fast internet speeds and the road to 10g with Roy Novosel, VP of Engineering at Comcast. This is going to change how you watch movies, gaming, home tech, and if you do a lot of work from home. This will give you speeds that you have only dreamed of. All while using your cable that is going into your house now.

Roy Novosel is a technical operations, construction and network engineering executive with 20 years of experience at Comcast. He joins the Comcast Pacific Northwest Region after serving as Senior Director of Network Maintenance for Comcast Houston. In this role, he led a team of more than 250 people responsible for the health, performance and growth of the region’s 28,000-mile fiber and coaxial cable network.

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Transcripts

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[00:00:23] Roy Novosel: for it?

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[00:00:48] Roy Novosel: There is a lot to know the, we got you covered. This is around

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[00:01:12] Eric Goranson: And we've got, uh, Roy Novosel here from. Comcast, he is VP of Engineering and we're gonna talk about some speed today. Brother,

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[00:01:25] Eric Goranson: man, same here. I mean, I, I'm gonna age myself here, you know? Kids will complain about Netflix taking two seconds to to load up, and I'm going, you clearly never had AOL

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[00:01:38] Eric Goranson: dial repair, never to experience it. , . So it's awesome. It's awesome. But you guys have been doing something, uh, absolutely amazing. Chasing the speed thing and you know, some companies are sitting there going, this isn't a Comcast Affinity commercial, but you guys are what's supply to my house.

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[00:02:06] Roy Novosel: And love to talk about it.

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[00:02:15] Eric Goranson: And I have a super fast thing from you guys, but what you guys are. Are planning to do now here, what? Towards the end of the year and into next year, and I'm talking 2023 and 2024. That, man, you guys are going to lightning. Oh, . Lightning

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[00:02:35] Roy Novosel: For the average, average person, you'll see 5G out there from the cell phone companies and they're we're, we're we're ting 10 G. No, in in cellular, cellular terms, 5G is just fifth generation. Yes. And when we refer to Teng from a Comcast perspective, we're talking 10 gigabit technology. and there we go. And that's 10 gigabit technology.

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[00:03:12] Roy Novosel: The technology leaps that we're taking now are just huge.

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[00:03:32] Roy Novosel: That's correct. So I think that's always been the strength of the, of the industry in particular, Comcast. Yes, we have an incumbent network that we've been maintaining for many, I mean, many, many years. And the, the cool thing about the Our Road to 10 G that we're calling it is essentially we can do a lot of um, uh, I guess you could say green board swaps and we just upgrade our outside.

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[00:04:13] Roy Novosel: We can, we can do this and we can do it at a quicker pace than, uh, any of our competi. Man, that is awesome

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[00:04:26] Roy Novosel: exactly. Exactly. And not to say that we won't have some light construction here and there, we, we do, um, at, you know, keep an eye on what we call our, our utilization in certain pockets of our.

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[00:04:55] Roy Novosel: Um, yeah. And, and it's pretty exciting. It's pretty exciting.

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[00:05:07] Roy Novosel: Across the company. Yeah, across the company is gonna be it.

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[00:05:27] Roy Novosel: Um, and so I'm just, I'm just excited about the future because. , you know, we can, we can get 10 G, majority of our customers will get 10 G within the next two or three years. That's, that's pretty amazing. That's faster than I could ever build fibers at a home. Yes. Um, and not that we don't build it, we build it when and when we have an opportunity and it's cost.

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[00:05:58] especially

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[00:06:05] Eric Goranson: If I look at the mailers that show up in my mailbox are the guys that are trying to hit me up all the time. They're always, oh yeah, you can never do that with coax cable. hold my beer. Right. I mean, it's Right. Exactly. Hold my

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[00:06:25] Roy Novosel: Of course. And, and so you. Coax is, you know, a a lot of folks think about it as old twisted pair or, or, or you know, old wiring, but it's really just a medium of how we get, uh, services to our, to, to our customers and Yep, it's served us well for a very long time and, and they'll continue to do so. And, um, I, I think, you know, when it comes to fiber to the home, we absolutely build our fi, we build fiber to the home as well too.

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[00:07:07] Roy Novosel: Um, right. You know? Yeah. Fibers, I guess you could say the flashy marketing term, but at the end of the day, when I talk to some of my neighbors, they don't even think about that. They're like my wifi to work. They just talk about wifi. It's like, Hey, how fast is my wifi gonna be in the home? And, and that's really probably the, the, in their minds, in the customer's minds.

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[00:07:48] Roy Novosel: And so, you know, we do speed upgrades year after year, uh, and many times. You probably arguably, you know, even though you got one, one gigabits to your home mm-hmm. , um, I'd venture to guess. You probably don't [00:08:00] overutilize that link.

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[00:08:03] Roy Novosel: about the future, right? Like in, in five years you're gonna need that.

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[00:08:11] Eric Goranson: I think I did a count. I've got like 45 smart home devices in my home because I, I do a lot of, I'm, I'm the, I'm the exception to the rule because I'm testing out all these different things. So I think I've got like five different brands of light switches and I don't, I think almost every light switch has got some kind of, Smart thing, whether it's doing the lamp or the back porch light or whatever.

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[00:08:46] Roy Novosel: Yeah, exactly. I, I've, uh, I have a lot of devices in my home security cameras. , um, you know, we got, we even have, uh, you know, simple things like my stove. It can be connected. My garage door is connected, so it's, oh yeah, there's a, there's a numerous things, but they don't [00:09:00] eat up a whole lot of bandwidth. The security cameras do, but, um, Yeah, I've got, depends on I'm

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[00:09:04] Eric Goranson: it.

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[00:09:23] Eric Goranson: But it's one of those things that, yeah, it adds up. Going down the list. And then if I'm watching out working in the shop and I got Netflix going on and I mean my cable boxes now, I don't have coax going those cuz I've got the, the wifi version of those. So, you know, it's one of those things that just kind of starts to add up over time.

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[00:09:41] Roy Novosel: absolutely. And, you know, beyond speed, um, you know, I think that's what makes us unique in, in, in with our competitors is. Our product set. Um, we're just not here to provide you a pipe and you figure it out, you know, just like security, just like our video platform, our, you know, everything's, I mean, you could, you can pull up your cameras on your tv, I'm [00:10:00] sure.

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[00:10:06] Eric Goranson: and I can do this right now. And. You know, .

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[00:10:22] Roy Novosel: They typically, you know, rely on third parties to bring. To deliver services. Sometimes they put it on the consumer to go buy their own stuff. Yeah. And, and we bring everything for 'em and, and make it work seamlessly together. And so that's, I think that's really a strength. Strength of Comcast.

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[00:10:48] Eric Goranson: The whole covid thing hit. So I looked like I was really smart. Working from home, I just got lucky, but when it hit, I'm like, Ooh, I'm doing a lot of video work and uploading stuff and, and I was worried about it. And I'm, as soon as they started working, [00:11:00] there's a middle school down the street here, so I was worried about that, taking up bandwidth and it, and at first I'm like, oh, it's working.

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[00:11:22] Eric Goranson: It's, but it fixed it. And that's one of the things that I always tell people out there is when in doubt get ahold of you guys, cuz it's probably not a, a quote unquote. Problem. It's probably a, a line problem or mother nature problem.

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[00:11:41] Roy Novosel: Yeah, while it is, um, while our network's designed, and all networks are designed, by the way, are majority are all shared bandwidth. Even, even our competitors, even though it's fiber to the home, uh, on some of them, it's still shared bandwidth on the technology. Um, but if you scale the network right, and you have the right amount of planning behind it, You know, utilization is not gonna be the problem.[00:12:00]

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[00:12:15] Roy Novosel: Um mm-hmm. , and I call it, it's just, it's, it, it makes our network brilliant because the equipment that we're putting out when we swap out equipment and put that 10 G equipment out there mm-hmm. , um, it's IP addressable, we. Some amazing visibility into what our network is doing, how it's performing, uh, without customers calling in, we can detect it and send somebody out there before they even know there's a problem.

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[00:12:41] Eric Goranson: It's great and I wanna talk about the 10 G for just a minute because I know a lot of people are going, okay, my 5G and my phone is fast, but they have no idea what 10 gigabit does for them. , because it's not a relatable thing, right?

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[00:13:16] Eric Goranson: Their connection.

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[00:13:39] Roy Novosel: And so, . Uh, but essentially what 10 Gigabits is, is designed for is, is, uh, I'm sure you've heard about the Internet of things. Mm-hmm. , it's hyperconnected devices. It's everything down to your toaster that you wanna monitor, um, and, and report back. And so you can see status of, and um, and while that seems.

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[00:14:15] Roy Novosel: All those things help enable that 10 G world. And, and those speeds help support a, a multiple devices. You know, today we got, you know, Netflix, we got streaming, which mm-hmm. and gaming, which does take a, a fair share of bandwidth. Um, but can certain 10 gigabits certainly is, is more than enough, I guess I put it in context.

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[00:14:44] Eric Goranson: at at your home, right, .

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[00:14:46] Eric Goranson: thing that people, um, I just kind of wanna let people know out there, and, and you touched on it, is, you know, we've kind of made everything smart.

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[00:15:16] Eric Goranson: What's the living room temp? Right. Because I have an external air temp in that TV and that kind of thing, where these things now are gonna be interconnected, grabbing data from each other across companies, people that are competitors. Now that stuff's gonna be talking. Maybe your Electrolux range in your Samsung will start talking together.

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[00:15:46] Roy Novosel: Yeah. And, and I think I, I also, uh, look at it as a good thing as far as, I look at it as this, the new check engine light for your devices in your home.

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[00:16:09] Roy Novosel: Yeah. And if you don't, if you don't have visibility to what's going on, You don't know if something's broke until it's catastrophic. Then you're like, ah, geez, now oh yeah. Thousands of dollars to repair this. So that's why I absolutely. Strength as this of this technology. Yep.

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[00:16:32] Eric Goranson: I can look on and go, Hey, did we leave one of the did? Did a kid put a space heater on in a room or something like that? Or did I leave something on in the garage? Cuz I can literally just grab my phone and go, wow, my normal usage right now is high. What am I doing? And right at the same point I can look at it and go, wow, that beer fridge out in the garage, it's 20 years old.

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[00:16:56] Roy Novosel: Right, right. Exactly. So I think all those, all those things, while, um, some, some [00:17:00] folks might view it as, well, why, why don't I wanna monitor my refrigerator? And when you put it in perspective, it's like, well, wouldn't you want to know if you're.

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[00:17:10] Eric Goranson: It's all of a sudden somebody left the door open or Exactly. You know,

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[00:17:19] Eric Goranson: And then upload speeds, those are gonna be increasing massively as well.

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[00:17:39] it.

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[00:17:40] Roy Novosel: Yeah. And, and and that's part of the road at 10 G. When we say 10 G, that's, that's up and down. That's not, uh, just download speeds. Um, and, and majority of our network is asymmetrical, but we are getting to symmetrical as fast as we can. Mm-hmm. . Um, and, and majority of all the, um, of all our, uh, utilization is still primarily on the downstream.

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[00:18:05] Eric Goranson: upload speeds, those are gonna be increasing massively as well. That's almost the beautiful, the most beautiful part of this is for the people that are uploading stuff into the cloud or, or emailing large files and things like that.

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[00:18:26] Roy Novosel: Oh yeah. Yeah. And, and that's part of the road to 10 G. When we say 10 G, that's, that's up and down. That's not, uh, just download speeds. Um, and, and majority of our network is asymmetrical, but we are getting to symmetrical as fast as we can.

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[00:18:55] Roy Novosel: Mm-hmm. , um, and, you know, put things in perspective like this conversation we're having just between Yeah. The two of us [00:19:00] is probably, you know, it's not, I don't think it's even high depth, you know, it's probably two or three megabits at a given time and we're, it's not a lot of movement. The more movement to have, the more bandwidth it takes.

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[00:19:10] Eric Goranson: as I'm dancing around over here, you can't see me . Exactly.

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[00:19:24] Roy Novosel: Speeds. Justin, we're gonna be rolling out a lot of it, um, next year, which will get us that, that high, uh, multi gigabit symmetrical speeds. Yep. So today the upgrades we're doing, uh, I call it a two putt. We're gonna get you the, the next generation of speeds. Um, we've already started offering two gigabits, uh, down and 200 up, uh, to the customers.

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[00:20:09] Roy Novosel: It's, it's pretty incredible. And that's exciting. And really what's gonna gate some of, um, you know, these speed offerings is really, What the home can perform, right? We don't wanna oversell thing where a cus consumer feels like they're not getting value for their, for their money. So while we're, we're certainly probably have some really high, high, uh, top speeds.

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[00:20:31] Eric Goranson: Yeah. And if you look at like TV technology out there, you know, it seems like, you know, we're getting, every year there's a new TV out, you know, so all of a sudden, you know, that seven 80 p was like, woo.

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[00:20:56] Eric Goranson: But you know, you guys have to size everything because if all of a sudden everybody's [00:21:00] doing a a, a 4K download, That's a lot of data compared to that 10 80 p

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[00:21:14] Roy Novosel: Yeah. Um, and my favorite ones are the wireless boxes. Um, you know, I have, I have a couple of in my house and I got one right here

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[00:21:22] Roy Novosel: Works. Exactly. And, and it allows so much flexibility to our customers and homeowners where if they wanna put a TV out by the fire pit for the night, watch the game.

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[00:21:48] Roy Novosel: Don't have to worry about it. Don't pay for the rewire, just. Slap, slap one of these in there and that, you know, it's, um, you know, it's interesting that some of our, uh, customers aren't aware of some of their product sets. We have so many different product sets. Sometimes it's [00:22:00] hard to make sure they're educated on all of 'em.

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[00:22:11] Eric Goranson: So, yeah, I mean, I've got a, you know, I've got that, that wireless box here in my, in my studio here when I wanna watch the game out in our outdoor kitchen out there.

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[00:22:36] Eric Goranson: And, and it's awesome. But, uh, yeah, that's, I loved it when I moved into this place a couple years ago because I was like, oh man, I gotta run all this coax cuz none of the boxes are in the right. You know, right. It was just everything was wrong and all of a sudden I'm like, oh, I just need to make sure I'm running one to my main place for my modem, and that was already there.

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[00:23:02] Roy Novosel: stuff, so, oh, yeah, absolutely. Yep. Yeah. And it, and and it's easier for a ma a maintained perspective when we just have one device in the home and, and, and a lot of our apps will help consumers, uh, install it for themselves.

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[00:23:29] Roy Novosel: With our app, you just scan the, the QR code. It's just, it's simple. The plug they make, Comcast has made it so simple from, from an app perspective to add things to your network that you want to. and, and seamlessly just get it online and, and move on with your day.

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[00:23:48] Eric Goranson: I, I have the pods, but I quit using the pods because I wanted to go with a, a super high speed mesh network. Because out here, for instance, and this is where you have to think about within your home of where you're putting things because maybe [00:24:00] that fireplace gets in the way. And my problem was is this is a 1977 house, so I have foil backed install.

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[00:24:32] Eric Goranson: And that foil backed insulation works decent for heat, but thanks 1977, that was not the best thing for dealing with. Thanks for the metal barrier there to go through the house. I appreciate it, . That's

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[00:24:52] Roy Novosel: uh, they could be quite honest that it could be extremely unreliable in the home. When you have different building types, um, you know, nothing's gonna be to wire connection to the home. Um mm-hmm. [00:25:00] Cause I wanna make sure my home is, is, you know, has all the insulation it needs, so I'm not wasting money on energy.

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[00:25:19] Eric Goranson: I first started playing with it. I'm like, oh, this was a good idea until now.

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[00:25:35] Eric Goranson: So I'm outside the envelope of the, of the foil installation, so I can do my other, my outside cameras and all that other stuff can grab it.

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[00:25:52] Roy Novosel: That it's gonna be hyper-connected with multiple devices in the future. So,

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[00:26:00] Roy Novosel: connection. Yeah. And, and, um, you know, it's, it can be tough to, you know, it's for us planning for our network. We know how many homes could be in a particular network area.

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[00:26:24] Eric Goranson: based on, oh, it's like going to a sporting event and trying to upload that picture in the middle of the event going, Hey, there's the first down, and you're like, I'll do this from home later,

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[00:26:33] Roy Novosel: exactly. That is a perfect example, is a sporting event. . Um, and that, and that's, um, that's the strength of, of our service is, um, you know, that and bringing those services into the home. We're not, we're not gonna be vulnerable to those type of, uh, events that happen. It's funny,

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[00:26:54] Eric Goranson: I said, okay, man. Let's, let's have an honest this conversation. Yes, the cable goes out with the power comes out sometimes, but [00:27:00] have you ever tried to, to text a picture or get online when the power's out for more than a couple hours in your area? Yeah, everybody's using their phone and I can't even get text messages out of my home just because the local cell tower and I'm on at and t I mean, it's full disclosure, if the power's out for more than an.

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[00:27:26] Roy Novosel: Eric, you lemme know if you need help getting on Xfinity, I'm more than happy to help you.

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[00:27:46] Eric Goranson: Yeah. So you know how it's, it's like alright, I gotta pay a couple grand to get outta that and it's just like, it's been low on my list, but I'm paying too much. I know that right now.

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[00:28:10] Roy Novosel: Mm-hmm. something that will last long. Our network will stay on from many hours when, when the power's out. Um, and, and we harden our network with generators and, um, and. Network reliability is extremely important to us. And, and when you have power events, um, you know, I I highly suggest getting a U p s, um, that way your modem stays online.

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[00:28:32] Eric Goranson: That's what I have right now. And it works really well for that cuz uh, you know, and I had a, a situation where it didn't, but we were out for five days and so it was a whole different system of Yeah. You know, everything was down and we had telephone poles down, so it was, you know, it was a, a, a way different problem.

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[00:28:56] Roy Novosel: Mother Nature thing. Getting at us

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[00:29:07] Eric Goranson: Where do you see this going in the next, you know, five years or so? I mean, so much is changing and I love what I see.

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[00:29:30] Roy Novosel: Those things. Um, you know, at the end of the day, I, you know, I think technology is gonna lead us to a place that's gonna enable people to, to do whatever they're, they're wanting to do in life. And, and, and really, I think technology, the strength of technology, it could not only make us more productive, um, it could, it can save lives.

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[00:30:03] Roy Novosel: Um, That, um, they're gonna have to learn from it. And, and sometimes you try to avoid the most unfortunate ones where somebody dies as a result, but it, those learnings per propelled even further and the technology just gets better and better. And if you think about, um, just let's say look at road incidents.

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[00:30:41] Roy Novosel: So I think things like that, uh, is, is what gets me excited about the future. And, um, you know, the, it's easy to dwell on the negative cuz there's a lot of negative in the news, but there's a lot of positive things happening with technology. That, um, you know, it's gonna solve a lot of things that's been, I guess you could say plaguing humanity for quite some time.

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[00:30:59] Eric Goranson: got, uh, [00:31:00] I've been some of my smart home stuff uses AI and I, and I love it. It's, um, it works well. And, uh, on your self-driving car note, living in the Portland area here, Oregon. I see sometimes, uh, it's been probably a year, but during Covid I would see it, but Kenworth was testing their, cuz their.

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[00:31:36] Eric Goranson: And they'd said, self-driving truck. They were testing it, but I was like, oh, that's. Wild. Okay. That's a thing. , you know, so Exactly. It's pretty cool. But yeah, you're right. I mean, you think about it, all these things. And you know, another thing, I travel a lot too, and that is one of the things, and to give you guys props as well.

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[00:32:17] Eric Goranson: I can roll up and go, oh, cool. Hotspot ba. And that works really well. And so it's been handy over the time traveling and sometimes the hotel has a horrible connection, but there's an Xfinity hotspot I can grab. I don't have to mess with it.

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[00:32:37] Roy Novosel: Um, because of all those outdoor, we call 'em outdoor aps access points. Mm-hmm. it's essentially outdoor wifi that's pump that, um, you can get as a consumer. Um, you know, the, all those things need to be powered and it's much easier to power those devices on our legacy network than if it was, uh, fiber to the home.

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[00:33:08] Roy Novosel: I'm like, oh, I got a, got a outdoor AP out here. I can get online on wifi and save on my data plan on, on the other side. So that's,

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[00:33:26] Eric Goranson: And I'm like, okay. So I drove across town with my laptop into an area that didn't get the ice storm and just grabbed one of those access points and. Fast went up, got it done, came back and went, that worked. Awesome. And so even in a natural disaster, that was very helpful to me. Cause there's no way I'd, I'd been sitting there at McDonald's for two hours trying to get that done.

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[00:34:03] Eric Goranson: Yeah. And that, you know,

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[00:34:19] Roy Novosel: A lot of folks see the power company out there, but we're a fast follow right behind it to, to repair it. And so, And I could tell you the last windstorm that we went through up here in Washington mm-hmm. , um, we, we got our network up extremely quick. In fact, a lot, many times, um, we were up sometimes even before the power company got back up.

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[00:34:53] Roy Novosel: Eloquent at getting their network back on in a timely fashion, let's put it that way. Um, the company really is serious [00:35:00] about the reliability and when we do have outages and, you know, mother Nature's gonna do her thing, and but. It's all how you respond to it and how quickly you get to it and get, get every, get everybody back online as quick as, and safely as possible.

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[00:35:14] Eric Goranson: funny you say that. I was gonna, I was gonna, wasn't gonna tell this story but it was funny before we go here, but, uh, I ended up, when we had that big storm, you guys were up and running. It was no big deal. After power kicked on, it was running, it was great. No problems. My neighbor, who is on a competitor network in my area, uh, Can I, I got a meeting today, can I borrow your wifi password?

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[00:35:44] Roy Novosel: it was brutal. Yeah. And, and, and everything has tradeoffs Eric. Um, yep. You know, while, uh, fiber architecture is, is desirable for sure, sure.

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[00:35:53] Eric Goranson: wow, man. It's like weaving a blanket.

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[00:36:05] Roy Novosel: Uh, fiber takes time.

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[00:36:10] Roy Novosel: Exactly. And depending, and how fiber is, is architected. We, you know, we. Because of how you have to splice it, you have to have slack. And so you have to sometimes, you know, you have to go back hundreds of feet to go find slack just to splice and that can take time.

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[00:36:46] Roy Novosel: Um, yeah, we treat every outage with the seriousness of, you know, we need to get this on within this timeframe, you know, get to it. And the only time we can't get it on, back on quickly is when, um, there's a safety issue. Down power lines. Our, our folks have to [00:37:00] wait for the power company to do their thing, but mm-hmm.

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[00:37:14] Eric Goranson: That's awesome. Roy, what did we not touch on today? Did we

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[00:37:24] Roy Novosel: Mm-hmm. I think that's one thing that's, um, a lot of folks don't know a lot about our company, but we invest a lot in, in the Rise program. And, and, and in, in parts of our, uh, community that folks probably just don't know a whole lot about. You know, we have internet essentials, so we provide, uh, high speed internet to a lot of low income families that.

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[00:38:11] Roy Novosel: This is, we're bringing it to everybody. And that includes communities that, uh, that need our help. And so that's what I'm really proud about with this company is, is an investment in the community.

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[00:38:31] Roy Novosel: Yeah, Eric, I'd love to come back on when we turn up our first multi gigabits, uh, or first 10 G next year. It, it will be next year. Yep. Um, at least our legacy network. And, and by the way, our, we're already multi gigabits, uh, so much Cool on our. And our fibers of the home networks that we have already deployed.

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[00:38:53] Eric Goranson: do it. Roy Navel, Comcast Xfinity. Thanks for coming on today, brother.

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[00:39:00] Eric Goranson: too, man. I'm Eric G and you've been listening too around the house