Updated: Comcast Doles Out Massive Internet Speed Boosts For Free In Some Markets, But There's A Big Catch

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Over the past week, we've reported quite a bit about the rise of cord-cutting and how big cable and satellite TV companies are adapting to the changing landscape. Comcast in particular lost 96,000 customers last quarter, and is looking for new ways to stop defectors from moving to cheaper alternatives.

Last week, Comcast responded by raising internet speeds out of the blue for customers in specific regions of the United States: Houston, Oregon, and Southwest Washington. We don't know if these areas in particular have seen heavy defections from Comcast's TV packages, but customers in these regions are seeing some massive increases in their internet download speeds. 

What's even more eyebrow-raising is that Comcast is doing this at no additional charge to customers. Since when does a big company like Comcast dramatically raise download speeds without a commensurable increase in cost for the consumers? Well, here's where the "catch" comes into play. Comcast is only providing these speeds boosts to customers that bundle in TV services on their monthly bill. If you are only paying for internet, you won't see these speed increase without paying more.

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As you can see from the chart above, customers that have Blast! Pro / Preferred and Premier with Quadruple play will see their 250Mbps download speeds quadruple to gigabit speeds at no additional cost.

"These increases demonstrate our commitment to delivering unparalleled service to our customers, now featuring more speed than ever before," said Rodrigo Lopez, Regional SVP for Comcast's Oregon/SW Washington region. "We're focused on providing a great customer experience by making our technology products easy to get and simple to use. Once again, we are able to offer our customers the speeds they want, when they want them."

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Well, it's able to "offer" those speeds as long as customers are willing to bundle, bundle, bundle. Interestingly enough, those increased speeds will likely mean that Comcast customers will end up hitting their data caps even faster. Comcast has enacted 1TB data caps nationwide, which hit customers with overage fees when they go over the limit. However, Comcast is willing to let customers bypass those overages if they pay an extra $50 a month for unlimited data.

While the "free" speed boosts will no doubt be welcome to Comcast customers that bundle, internet-only customers must be scratching their heads at this turn of events. While it's true that companies often give perks/pricing breaks to customers that bundle one or more services, Comcast's internet speed increases have traditionally applied to all customers. However, it appears that Comcast is having a change of heart as it sees its TV subscriber numbers decline quarter after quarter to cord-cutters.

Americans are increasingly turning to cord-cutting due to the rising costs of TV packages from Big Cable. A report from Kagan, S&P Global Market Intelligence states that premium TV package pricing has increased 74 percent since 2000. And the ascent of streaming TV services like Sling TV, Direct TV Now and Philo TV-- in addition to Amazon Video and Netflix -- have given customers lower-cost alternatives that suit their needs.

Updated May 2nd, 2018 at 11:47AM EST
Comcast has sent us over the following statement with regards to its internet speeds and bundle packages:

“This year alone, we have boosted speeds for Internet-only customers and customers in packages in more than two dozen different states across the country which added at least 50 Mbps more speed for these customers.  In a few of our markets, we are also testing different multi-product packages by changing the Internet tiers for various packages we offer. Importantly, all of our internet tiers can be purchased as a stand-alone service by ANY Xfinity customer.  We continue to deliver the fastest speeds to the most homes in the country – in fact, 75% of our customers now have speeds of 100 Mbps or higher and Gigabit service is now available to more than 90 percent of our service area, including Internet-only customers.”


Via:  ArsTechnica
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