Comcast is turning up the heat on their broadband competitors by upping broadband speeds in several markets today. They are doubling speed for a couple of their packages and increasing speeds by about 60% for one, all at no additional charge for customers. Comcast may “smell blood in the water,” looking to inflict even more damage on what remains of their DSL competition.

Comcast is increasing their Blast! download speeds from up to 25 Mbps to speeds of up to 50 Mbps and upload speeds from up to 4 Mbps  to up to 10 Mbps. Their Extreme 50 subscribers will get a bump of download speeds of up to 105 Mbps (formerly 50 Mbps) and upload speeds up to 20 Mbps (formerly 15 Mbps). Their lower level Performance plan is increasing to speeds of up to 25 Mbps from 15 Mbps downstream and to 5 Mbps from 2 Mbps upstream. Existing customers simply need to reset their cable modem to gain the new speeds.

Announced markets for the upgrade include parts of Arkansas, Indiana, and Michigan. offers more insight into Comcast’s rollout plans by market for these broadband upgrades.

Traditional DSL Bloodbath
Comcast is on a roll with regards to broadband, with much of it coming at their DSL competitors’ expense. We’ve reported in the past on the marketplace reality of legacy DSL vs. cable modem competition in markets where Comcast competes with the likes of AT&T and Verizon. In those markets where AT&T has not deployed U-verse or Verizon has not deployed FiOS, it’s a virtual bloodbath, relative to broadband competition.

Consider that, by my math (calculated from quarterly earnings reports), AT&T lost over 2.5 million legacy DSL lines in 2012. Verizon did much better, but still lost 482 thousand DSL lines in the same time period. That’s close to 3 million legacy DSL broadband lines lost in 2012 from AT&T and Verizon alone. Contrast that with the 1.2 million broadband lines that Comcast added in 2012, and you can see why I choose the term bloodbath.

Not by Accident?
The cynics among us might argue this is not by accident. There is a growing opinion that both AT&T and Verizon have all but abandoned their traditional DSL footprint, ceding it to cable and other competitors. They instead are focusing on their U-verse and FiOS territories, offering a much more competitive bundle there. Collectively, they added 3.1 million U-verse (2.49 million) and FiOS (607 thousand) broadband lines in 2012. Verizon’s growing partnership with the cable industry for wireless, cable, and broadband bundling adds credence to this argument.

Given the success that Comcast is already having against DSL, doubling Internet speeds at no additional charge seems to suggest they are going in for the kill once and for all. Is it bye-bye for legacy DSL in these markets? With AT&T and Verizon literally hemorrhaging legacy DSL lines, one could argue there is DSL blood in the water, and Comcast is on the hunt.

Image courtesy of flickr user Scott the Hobo.

Join the Conversation

5 thoughts on “Does Comcast Smell Blood in the Water?

  1. Did Comcast clear this with Susan Crawford first?

    According to her, it is impossible for the evil cable companies to double a customer's download speed at no additional charge. And it is impossible for Comcast to do this as a competitive response because, again according to her, there IS no competition.

    So this must be a mirage . . .

    1. The illusion of competition is something that Comcast likes to keep up in areas where they compete with DSL and wireless rather than fiber. That way, they can raise rates one to three times per year and stave off potential monopoly regulations.

      Five years, ago, 6 Mbps down, 1 Mbps up service with modem rental was about $55 per month. The same tier now is 4x the speed, but significantly more expensive. The same speed? About the same price, despite technological advances.

      Granted, with the latest upgrades, you can get 25/5 service from Comcast for around $70 per month including modem rental, and that's a bit better than the $80 that I had to pay back when DOCSIS 3 just came out for 22/5 service. But I also got PowerBoost up to about 35 Mbps down and 10 Mbps up, something that's gone away with the most recent upgrades. And if I didn't want to pay $70 for Internet, I wasn't grossly penalized speed-wise for paying less (the fastest tier below 25/5 now is 6/1).

      Is Comcast a pure monopoly in the areas that it serves? No. But, like Verizon FiOS, they have a premium product and they know it, so they price it as such. Any upgrades they make will be more than covered by across-the-board price increases. Gotta love solid competition, huh?

  2. I think this is an attempt to mask the fact that they can do this in all areas and can actually offer even greater speeds if they were to do some new infrastructure, this is merely fluff to get some good press, we are lagging quite literally behind other countries in terms of internet speeds and pricing, The number one reason for this is because there is no incentives for the ISP to offer higher speeds at lower rates. If these ISP can't do it them selves then allow the Government to step in and provide the infrastructure, at have them charge a rental the ISP a rental fee that is reasonable to cover cost. We are moving into an era unlike before where the demand for faster speeds and lower rates will rise. And Txpatriot this is a mirage and you seemed to be fooled by it.

    1. Just a very quick comment. You stated "If these ISP can't do it them selves then allow the Government to step in and provide the infrastructure, at have them charge a rental the ISP a rental fee that is reasonable to cover cost."

      Since when has government EVER had a reasonable cost for a service? You can't get a reasonable rental fee if you don't have a reasonable cost. If you get government involved any more than what it is now, the whole system will really get messed up. And I don't believe that we're lagging behind other countries compared to our widely spread population over such a large geographic area. But one point at a time.

      1. Funny, EPB seems to be beating the pants off of Comcast with their infrastructure. To be fair, that infrastructure was cross-subsidized by smart grid related funding, but honestly if you're running power lines, adding in telecom has little cost and a huge benefit.

        Said by someone who is still thinking of building an ISP in an area that would be well-served if EPB or an equivalent were here…because particularly in the rural US the model for connectivity is broken.

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