RealTime IT News

Comcast Cranks Up Speed

Comcast is increasing residential broadband speeds again, the cable giant's latest move in its ongoing battle with DSL providers.

For high-speed customers who eschew Comcast cable TV service, upgrading to downstream speeds of 6Mbps or 8Mbps will cost $10 and $20 more per month, respectively.

Those subscribers who also take cable TV service will be automatically upgraded to 6Mbps service for free and there will be no new software to download. These customers can also move to the 8Mbps offering for $10 more per month.

"Our service is fast, reliable, easy to use, and packed with great features and value," Steve Burke, Comcast COO, said in a statement. "Our new 8 and 6Mbps speeds are ideal for anyone living in the Comcast network -- from the mainstream broadband user to the dial-up customer looking to switch to something faster."

The upgrades begin this month in Eastern Pennsylvania, New England, New Jersey, Maryland, Michigan and Washington, D.C. Comcast expects nearly every market in its footprint to be upgraded by the end of summer.

The Philadelphia-based cable outfit, which has 7.4 million broadband subscribers, said this is the third time it has upped speeds since October 2003. Higher speeds make it more feasible for Comcast to sell premium multimedia services -- such as gaming, music and video mail.

Last month, SBC slashed entry-level DSL prices.

The San Antonio, Texas, carrier began offering its basic SBC Yahoo DSL service (which delivers speeds of 384Kbps to 1.5Mbps) for $14.95 per month. The price, which is lower than some dial-up ISPs, is limited to new customers who order online and commit to one year.

Comcast, however, has refused to be drawn into a price war with DSL rivals.