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The hidden Comcast higher-speed option

comcast logoOur home internet connection is from Comcast, and overall, I'd say I'm a reasonably satisfied customer -- I've had a few outages, and a flakey modem that had to be replaced, but they've always been prompt and courteous when dealing with these issues. But this post isn't really about their capabilities as an ISP, it's about their marketing (or lack thereof).

A couple months back, I heard that Comcast had a faster package available. Now cable modems aren't slow to begin with, but there's always a desire for more speed, so I was intrigued and went net searching. I probably should have started at Google, or just called Comcast, but I didn't. Instead, I tried our account page on Comcast.net, but came up blank. Next, I tried the Products page from the corporate homepage. No luck there either. I even tried entering our zip code, address, etc., but could find no reference to this purported faster package on the ordering screen. For what should be an easy sale to existing customers, Comcast was making this information very hard to find.

I finally found it, after much clicking, by tracing a convoluted series of links from the FAQs page. In an FAQ discussing available speeds, it states:

Comcast High-Speed Internet Service + $10 Add-on for Speed
$10 Add-on for Speed delivers you a 100% Pure Broadband experience. Super blazing fast speeds (6Mbps downstream and 768Kbps upstream) will help you fly through the Web's most graphic-heavy sites.

Finally! This was the info I was looking for -- for only $10 more a month (about 23% more money), download speed increases by 50% (4Mbps to 6Mbps). Even better for me, as I do a lot of this, upload speed increases by 100% (384Kbps to 768Kbps). Since I rely heavily on my connection, this added investment was a no-brainer for me.

This package is officially called the '$10 Add-on for Speed,' which is what you need to know to order it. So if you have Comcast, and want some additional speed for a bit more money, it might be worth a phone call -- unless you're in the Portland area, then don't upgrade, as I want all the bandwidth for myself! :)

12 Comments

  1. This product was probably still in soft launch because it's so new. It may have been advertised more aggresively to business customers, too, because that's traditionally where Comcast aims to sell the speedier packages.

    Alternatively they might not want a lot of people to know about it. Maybe they don't have the egress bandwidth to handle widely adopted 6meg connections.

  2. Thanks so much for the tip. I read this post about 15 minutes ago and immediately ran a routine speed-test at dslreports.com to use as a benchmark. One short phone call was all it took and now I can proudly say that I am fully loaded. I've been dying for a more powerful uplink for a long time. Much appreciation for the tip.

    Slick!

  3. Thanks for the heads-up on this. Within five minutes of reading this post, I had initiated an online chat with a Comcast rep, he uploaded a new config file to my modem, and I was up and running with significantly higher upstream and downstream speed.

  4. FYI...
    I have the standard Comcast package and live just 22mi NE of Seattle. I have 4Mbps down and 768Kbps up with this package. Comcast msy vary the package content between customers.

  5. I live in the Seattle area, and Comcast just did a mass upgrade around here. I now have 6Mbit down, 1Mbit up for my connection.

  6. Sorry to sound like a commercial but.....Yes, the 10 dollar upgrade will get you slightly faster speeds. But after much research on this particular subject myself I found the best deal to be from Verizon with their new FIOS fiber optic line. If your town has been wired (and mine is of course) You can get download speeds of 15, and uploads of 2. ($49.99 a month). For 10 bucks less than that, you can get 5 down, and 2 up. ($39.99 a month). They hook you up with an ONT box, for free, run the fiber directly to your home, (no sharing a hub like with cable you have a direct line) you get a free router (D-Link DI-604 wired-wireless is extra) and I have been getting constant speeds like this:

    http://www.dslreports.com/archive/verizon.net?zip=01810&start=Search

    Another test site gives me:
    outbound test (client to server) . . . . . 1.84Mb/s
    inbound test (server to client) . . . . . . 12.36Mb/s

    That's 3x's the upload, and over 2x's the download offered by Comcast for the same money. Plus the ONT box has connections to run 4 phone lines, and an RG-6 for HDTV they will be offering at the end of the year. And since it is optical, it does not suffer from the interference, or signal problems of traditional copper wire. (Optical can go 63 miles before having to need amplification.) So for those who have the option in your area, you might want to check it out:

    http://www22.verizon.com/FiosForHome/channels/Fios/HighSpeedInternetForHome.asp?promotion_code=&variant=

  7. I use EarthLink powered by Comcast about 6 weeks. The sales rep told me it's 4M down and 384k up over the phone as well as on the agreement. Meanwhile, I noticed that Comcast "caps" the usage. It mentioned on the agreement, 3GB down and 1GB up. I asked about that while the Comcast installer was working at my home. He told me 4GB and moved on.

    Of course, I'm over the limits. So far, I didn't receive any warning from Comcast. Is that a myth on the "cap"? I'm in the Bellevue, WA area.

  8. I'm thinking about getting this service upgrade, but right now I don't think it's a very good deal for me. I can get real-world download speeds of about 450 kilobytes per second via my cable modem. I never see those kinds of speeds unless I'm downloading something directly from Apple. My clients all have T-1 or thereabouts, so the best I could ever hope for when downloading something from them is 175 KB/s or so. I guess bumping to 6 Mbps would be nice when downloading iTunes tracks, but I'd rather use my $10 a month to buy an extra album and wait a few more seconds.

  9. Some replies ...

    #8: Jeff, if you're getting 450KBps already, then yea, no reason to upgrade. On the old plan, on the fastest sites, I was only seeing about 280KB. Now it often pushes close to 600KB. But the real timesaver for me was the upload speed; I send a lot of images out to our family's website, and this has gotten so much faster.

    #6: Brian, I'd *love* to go to FDDI. I've been checking the site constantly since it was announced. Still no joy in our neck of the woods :(.

    #5: Duo, as it was explained to me, if/when Comcast bumps the basic subscriber rate, the $10 add-on package will get bumped as well. So everyone gets faster, and you'd get fasterer.

    -rob.

  10. Kenneth - The bandwidth cap is almost a myth. I've never seen a published limit, and Comcast reserves the warning letters for people that are seriously out of wack.

    Brian - That fiber package sounds awesome, but I have one quibble. You are most definitely *not* on a hub when you have a cable modem. Yes, cable is a shared medium but it's not at all like ethernet. All your data is encrypted, so no one else can read it, and every modem on the line gets it's own time slot (and Comcast tries really hard to make sure they don't put more modems on an upstream than there are slots) to send data, so there are no collisions. Your fiber connection is just as "shared" as cable, really, because somewhere there's a router that everyone's traffic goes through. If your provider oversubscribes that router you'll see slow speeds no matter what technology you're hooked to.

  11. Well, we got the supposed 'upgrade' two weeks ago and it sucks so far. In fact, they've twice told me that since i've got a router DL router, Airport and VOIP that that might be slowing it down. Bull****. I ran a straight connection to my Mac and we still barely break 3mbps most of the time.

  12. Well, it never worked. Comcast couldn't get the faster speed to show up on my end for whatever reason and I ended this little experiment today. I even tried what they suggested and measured speed from the modem straight into a computer with no router or voip in-between and the speed was still running standard. So I cancelled the "upgrade" today after contacting Comcast several times.

    I guess nothing lost and nothing gained. :-(

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