Comcast Corp. is boosting internet speeds for customers across the country as consumers gobble up more data while ditching traditional pay-TV plans.
Philadelphia-based Comcast has hiked broadband speeds in different regions recently and rolled out the speed increases Thursday in 14 states from Maine through Virginia. Download speeds for some plans will go up by 60%, the company said.
The cable giant said the latest speed boosts are meant to meet growing demand for fast, high-bandwidth internet, as consumers connect more devices to home networks. Comcast customers are connecting 10 devices in their homes a day, on average, a spokesperson said. And more consumers are streaming 4K ultra-high-definition movies and TV shows that take up twice as much bandwidth as HD, according to Cisco Systems.
Under the new speed increases, more than 75% of residential customers in the Northeast will have download speeds of 200 mega-bits-per-second (Mbps) or higher. Comcast customers paying for its “Extreme” internet plan will see download speeds increase from 400 to 600 Mbps. On the lower end, Comcast is boosting download speeds on its “Performance Starter” plan from 10 Mbps to 25 Mbps — the minimum speed recommended for streaming 4K video, according to the Federal Communications Commission.
Comcast has seen its broadband business grow while bleeding hundreds of thousands of TV subscribers every quarter. In the second quarter, Comcast lost 224,000 Xfinity TV subscribers, but added 209,000 new Xfinity Internet subscribers.
In addition to boosting speeds, Comcast has launched services such as xFi, which lets customers manage their home networks, and Xfinity Flex, a Roku-like device that aggregates streaming services.
In the Philadelphia region, Comcast had an average fixed broadband download speed of 147.66 Mbps, while Verizon’s average was 138.62 Mbps during the third quarter of this year, according to Ookla, a Seattle firm that offers free speed tests for internet users. Those average speeds come from 618,000 consumer-initiated tests taken using Ookla’s Speedtest service.
Average broadband download speeds in 2018 increased 35.8% from the year before, while upload speeds jumped 22.0%, according to Ookla. Comcast was the fastest broadband service provider in the U.S., the firm found.
Here are the changes to Comcast’s broadband plans. Rates, which vary according to geography and plan, are not affected by the higher speeds, the company said.