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Posts tagged: broadband

Comcast rolls out two options for highest data consumers, drops 250 gigabyte limit

Comcast officials said on Thursday they're discarding the current 250 gigabyte data use limit on residential customers, replacing it with two new options that will raise the limit to 300 gigs per month.

Comcast officials hosted a conference call from Philadelphia saying it's moving forward with two test options, both of which will be tested evaluatued “to maintain and insure the highest quality service” for its 20 million U.S. data customers.

It's not clear when the two new options will be tested in Washington state. 

The Comcast blog statement is here.

One option is to introduce a tiered system, with customers starting with no limits for using 300 gigabytes of data. Customers choosing to use more can set paid plans at $10 for each additional 50 gigabytes per month.

Option two will start with 300 gigabytes of free use per month, and then offer “on demand” additional blocks of 50 gigs as needed. Prices might vary for those additional blocks, but might be identical to those in option one ($10 for 50 additional gigabytes).

David Cohen, a Comcast executive vice president, said the change will occur over time and will determine which of the two tests is most flexible and the best solution to maintain network quality.

Cohen also said “the vast majority” of Comcast's 20 million U.S. customers do not come anywhere close to the 250 gigabyte limit. Since being implemented in 2008, Comcast has on occasion shut down residential customers who exceed the 250 gigabyte limit.

Cohen said the decision is a recognition and a “philosophical adjustment” to our highest volume customers, and that it reflects the view by Comcast that “we don't want to discourage you from using Comcast and having an 'essentially unlimited data service.” 

Comcast launches Xfinity home security service, tying controls to broadband

Cable company Comcast Corp. has launched a home security service as part of its Xfinity Home package, offering both monitoring and remote controls that can be used to adjust lights or heating.

The company made the new service available Tuesday across Washington state. The service includes a remote app for enabling video from inside the house or for changing alerts or lighting. That app is available on Apple devices, said a Comcast press release.  Personal computers can also use the app for making home security selections.
 
The fee is $39.95 per month.  Among other options, customers can receive text or email alerts when doors open or close, or when motion detectors in the house report activity.

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Comcast will offer TV-plus-Skype, home security service for Spokane in 2012

Comcast Corp., the largest cable company in Washington and the U.S., plans to announce new services for Spokane and Washington state broadband customers next year.

Those are a Skype TV service and a home security over broadband service.  The Skype plan will let users with modern TVs use the interactive platform for video conferencing and phone calls. Skype, of course, can be used as a simple IM chat service as well.

No price plan has been announced and no announced start date has been set.

The home security service has been going through some early testing, including in parts of Portland. For a story on that test, here's an Oregonian report.

For a nice overview of how Comcast and Time Warner and other companies are diving into home security, here's a solid story from the LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-ct-cable-home-security-20111206,0,3074487.story

The home security option will require some investment in equipment or at least using an upgraded version of the Xfinity app. The monthly cost, apart from startup fees and equipment costs, will run aboug $40 a month, according to a Comcast press sheet.

Comcast giving low-income residents a discounted broadband option

The digital divide?  You remember it, don't you? It's that gaping chasm separating you guys with broadband from those who have to sputter along using a dial up modem, or else line up at the library.Comcast Corp., the nation's largest cable operator, plans to help bridge the divide for those with limited incomes. As noted on NPR.org, the company is offering decent broadband services at a discount rate of roughly $10 per month. A deal:

The company says low-income families will now be able to get a fast Internet connection for $9.95 per month; the question now is whether the effort can overcome the many barriers that keep the poor from getting online.

Comcast announced the program, called “Internet Essentials,” at a splashy event in the company's hometown of Philadelphia. Mayor Michael Nutter showed up along with city and state education officials as a sign that this program is aimed at an important problem: improving school performance.
 
The program will offer a big discount to low-income families, says Comcast Vice President David Cohen. Basic high-speed Internet, which normally would cost around $50 per month, will be available for the $9.95 rate.
 
To be eligible, families must have a child who qualifies for the free school lunch program — that means an income of less than $25,000 a year for a family of three. Because Internet access doesn't do much good without a computer, Comcast is also offering coupons that will allow these families to buy a basic PC for $150.

Comcast adds 105Mbps service for Spokane area customers

Spokane is among cities where Comcast is now offering “Extreme 105 Mbps,” making it one of the fastest download Internet options for cable subscribers.

The top speed before was roughly 50 megabits per second.

If ordered with a bundle, the 12-month cost for users is $105 per month. Otherwise it will be $199 per month for standalone service.

Comcast spokesman Walt Neary said the appeal seems strongest among families who have several members involved in serious online gaming.

About 40 million homes nationwide are potentially able to get the upgraded service.

The Federal Commnications Commission has set a goal of 100-Mbps for 100 million U.S. homes by 2020, as a target for increasing the nation's broadband capacity.

Comcast still maintains a 250GB data cap per month, even for anyone using the Exteme 105 service. Users exceeding that cap will be given warnings of possible disconnects.

Comcast sees more cord-cutting, but gains with data and voice subs

As a follow-up to an earlier Spokesman.com story on the increasing numbers of people cutting the cord from paid TV services, we take note of the fourth quarter earnings reported by Comcast Corp., the nation's largest cable operator.

As it did over the first three quarters of 2010, the cable giant saw losses in total video subscribers. (No numbers are broken out for regions such as Washington.)

It more than made it up for those defections with increased spending by other customers — the ones that opt for multiple products and broadband data and voice subscriptions.

Overall, the company is certainly not hurting. Comcast's broadband margins are clearly driving the gains, noted BernsteinResearch's Craig Moffett in a story cited at online pub MediaBiz.

The publication also said: “In terms of subscriber gains and losses, Comcast reported basic video losses of -135K to 22,802K and broadband gains of 292K to 1,698K.  Phone adds were 257K to 8,610K.  All three metrics beat consensus.  In a move sure to please investors, Comcast also increased its dividend by 19 percent to $0.45/share/year.”
  

Comcast rolling out ultra-fast broadband for area businesses

Comcast is rolling out, without fanfare, a much faster broadband service for businesses.

Spokane and just about all other Washington Comcast metros can now sign up for 100 Mbps  Business Class Internet Service.

This is an upgrade that roughly doubles what business customers of Comcast have been getting — namely about 50 megabits per second for a price of $189.95. The new service, which hasn’t even been marketed yet, jumps download speeds to 100 Mbps and upload speeds to 15 Mbps.

The price at the fast fast faster speed is about $369.95 per month. For that price the service is bundled with lots of other goodies, such as a Microsoft Exchange service and Symantec antivirus for up to 25 machines.

Comcast has other other slower-bandwidth options at lower prices for businesses as well.

Walt Neary, a Comcast spokesman, noted that the upgrade provides some of the fastest broadband service available in the nation.

Where already tested, the Comcast Business Class service gives medical companies and large firms with huge data needs plenty of options, Neary noted.

One example:  a high-resolution medical image or a large design file of 2 gigabytes could be downloaded in roughly 2.5 minutes on the Business Class service.. Neary said the same file would take 3 hours on the “typical” business T1 line that can download at 1.5 megabits per second.


 

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The Spokesman-Review business team follows economic development in Spokane and the Inland Northwest.

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Alison Boggs (@alisonboggs) Online Producer Alison Boggs posts and manages content on spokesman.com and its social networking accounts.

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Scott Maben Scott Maben is a Deputy City Editor who covers North Idaho news and higher education.

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