In what is expected to be the start of a nationwide upgrade initiative, Comcast has begun to deploy free downstream speed bumps for its most popular broadband service tiers in Oregon and Southwest Washington and other parts of the operator's West division.
By tier, here's how the downstream speed upgrades stack up:
- Performance: 60 Mbit/s to 75 Mbit/s.
- Performance Pro: 150 Mbps to 175 Mbps.
- Blast!: 250 Mbit/s to 275 Mbit/s.
- Extreme: 400 Mbit/s to 500 Mbit/s.
Comcast, which also offers 1 Gbit/s downstream speeds across its fully deployed DOCSIS 3.1 network, said roughly 85% of its customers in the Oregon/SW Washington region subscribe to either Performance, Performance Pro, Blast! or Extreme. The speed upgrades apply to Comcast broadband services that are bundled with other cable services or bought on a stand-alone basis, the company said.
Customers in that region who lease a gateway from Comcast will automatically receive the speed upgrades without a modem rest. Those who purchased a modem on their own will need to go online to see if their model is eligible for the faster speeds.
Comcast's latest free speed upgrade is underway in the MSO's West division before being phased in across its US cable service footprint.
Why this matters
The phased-in upgrade is the latest in a long string of speed increases, particularly in the downstream direction, that Comcast has initiated in recent years to stay ahead of bandwidth demand as consumers connect more and more devices onto their home networks.
Speaking at a presser last week, Matt Strauss, EVP of Xfinity Services at Comcast Cable, noted that Comcast has increased broadband speeds 17 times in the past 18 years. As a point of historical reference, downstream speeds for Comcast's Blast! tier maxed out at 16 Mbit/s back in 2008.
Comcast will also use the speed bumps to help drive more value into its more popular tiers and attempt to keep key broadband ARPU levels in check. The MSO will also raise speeds to help gain and retain its share of broadband subscribers in its footprint against DSL and FTTP competitors, as well as emerging 5G-based fixed wireless offerings being pitched as in-home broadband alternatives.
Comcast, which ended Q2 2019 with 25.63 million residential broadband subs, is on track to bring on well over 1 million broadband net adds in 2019, maintaining a pace that it has kept up for the past 13 years, Strauss said.
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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading