Comcast upped the ante in the broadband wars today by introducing a new 305 Mbps tier, besting Verizon’s recently announced 300 Mbps FiOS Quantum tier. In their press release announcing the new 300 Mbps offer, Verizon specifically called out Comcast’s then fastest broadband tier of 105 Mbps, stating, “By contrast, the fastest Internet speeds offered by cable-company challengers top out at 105 Mbps downstream and 20 Mbps upstream.” It didn’t take long for Comcast to respond and they even matched Verizon’s upstream speed of 65 Mbps.
Perhaps the more important news coming out of Comcast today was not the 305 Mbps offer, but the doubling of existing tiers at no additional cost. Customers who subscribe to their 25 Mbps and 50 Mbps tiers will see those speeds increase to 50 Mbps and 105 Mbps respectively. That’s more significant news for the broadband marketplace, considering these new 300+ Mbps offers with their pricing of $200+ from Verizon and close to $300 from Comcast will appeal to a very small segment of the market.
These new Comcast offers will be rolled out in select markets only (at least for now), including Boston, Hartford, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Wilmington, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Richmond, and New Jersey.
“More customers are simultaneously connecting to the Internet through tablets, laptops and smartphones within their homes. Whether it’s to stream movies, upload photos, video chat with family and friends, or catch all of the Olympics action live on their tablets and connected devices, we want to ensure these consumers are getting the speeds they need,” said Cathy Avgiris, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Data and Communications Services at Comcast in a press release. “We will continue to increase speeds as customer demands evolve. Comcast is committed to providing our customers with even more choices to get the best, fastest and most reliable experience possible.” Nice plug for the Olympics coverage, which is provided by new Comcast subsidiary NBC.
The new 305 Mbps tier, called Xfinity Platinum, will also provide Comcast’s Signature Support service, which includes “…24/7 tech support from experienced and knowledgeable specialists; a wireless gateway to create a fast, efficient and secure home network; a dedicated Personal Communications Consultant to support their high-speed Internet needs; and the Constant Guard™ Security Suite, the most comprehensive online protection services available from any major ISP.”
Cynics may point out that this perceived competitive battle in the broadband marketplace between Comcast and Verizon is coming at a very convenient time. They are both trying to convince the U.S. Justice department that their new co-marketing agreement, which allows them to resell each other’s services and co-develop new products, does not lessen competition. The Justice department is expected to rule on the deal soon.