Comcast boosts upstream speeds on 6, 8Mbps plans

There are both upsides and downsides to being a Comcast customer. While the company began testing a throttling system for heavy bandwidth users last week, it announced today that it’s increasing the upstream speeds free of charge on its Performance and Performance Plus plans.

Users of the Performance service, which currently tops out at 6Mbps down and 384Kbps up, will see their upstream almost triple to 1Mbps (128KB/s). Folks who use the 8Mbps/768Kbps Performance Plus plan, meanwhile, will get an upstream boost to 2Mbps. Comcast also mentions that it can offer doubled downstream speeds on both of those services with its PowerBoost system.

That’s not the only speed boost Comcast users can look forward to. The company stresses that it’s testing a 50Mbps service in the Twin Cities area (which spans Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota). Also, it “expects to deliver even faster speeds of up to 100Mbps to its customers over the next two years,” with speeds as high as 160Mbps a possibility. That said, we also learned last week that Comcast is evaluating a 250GB monthly bandwidth use quota for heavy users. (Thanks to DailyTech for the tip.)

Comments closed
    • evermore
    • 12 years ago

    Oooh. 100KBps upload to Comcast’s FTP server in NH. Too bad they didn’t do that a few years back when it might have been useful to me.

    • timbits
    • 12 years ago

    this upstream increase hasn’t hit northwest washington yet. I’m eagerly awaiting them getting around to it sometime around 2011.

    • Sniper
    • 12 years ago

    Also, it’s pretty obvious they’re increasing speeds so that users hit their monthly caps FASTER.

      • Krogoth
      • 12 years ago

      That is faulty logic there. It is practically the same as blaming the car manufacturer for making their cars go beyond the speeding limit, thus making you liable for a speeding ticket. >_<

      Nevermind, that majority of the servers out there do not even come close handling those kind of sustained speeds.

      Seriously, if you need a lot of bandwidth. You simply have to pay up.

    • Sniper
    • 12 years ago

    “That said, we also learned last week that Comcast is evaluating a 250GB monthly bandwidth use quota for heavy users. ”

    Time Warner is doing the same thing, except with a 40gb per month quota.

    All the ISPs are “testing” this out. Before long, we’ll all have ISPs with set quotas.

    This must be prevented from happening.

      • Krogoth
      • 12 years ago

      It is the nature of economics of bandwidth.

      Mainstream broadband is not a *[

        • MadManOriginal
        • 12 years ago

        We’ve already paid for it through taxes, it was called the 1996 Telecommunications Act. The broadband providers just didn’t hold up their end of the agreement and used the tax breaks to pad the bottom line instead.

        I don’t think that anyone would argue that the service should be max speed 24/7, rather that they are cutting back on the service for everyone based upon a small, <1% I think they’ve said?, number of users. They could just as easily cut off those users under the TOS if they were really concerned about keeping the quality of service higher for the rest. The only explanation is that their ‘bad heavy users’ argument doesn’t tell the full story and I believe that is the case, they are just using that as an excuse to implement caps with extra surcharges and will probably slippery-slope it lower in the future. Increasing advertised max speed, which implies infrstructure improvements of some type, while implementing caps is like shaking with one hand and slapping with the other. The contradiction of those two actions is what makes this story even more perplexing and frustrating.

          • Krogoth
          • 12 years ago

          Again, the politics are a lot more complicated. It is part of the reason why expansion of FiOS service in my general region (Southeastern PA) has been so darn slow.

          I do believe some of those taxpayer $$$$ where used in expanding the networks to what they are now. Remember how rare affordable broadband was in pre-2000 era? There now tons of affordable, decent options.

          It is just that demand has grown much more since. It just takes a lot of time and $$$$ to expand the existing networks to meet the new demand. Sadly, that “tiny” userbase hogs most of the available bandwidth at the site.

          Bandwidth caps are a reasonable measure to combat the problem, because only the abusers have to worry about paying extra. They are also the most vocal opponents against the whole capping business.

          Increasing the speed just makes it quicker for users to obtain their content. It also does not mean that the said users will be able to obtain the said speed from most servers.

            • MadManOriginal
            • 12 years ago

            Still doesn’t answer why they don’t just terminate service for the small fraction of abusers if it impacts all the rest so much. Like I said, I believe they are just using them as an excuse to find a way to create more revenue streams by way of over use charges in the future. If the caps start being decreased it would lend more support to this theory.

    • zqw
    • 12 years ago

    The free upstream boost happened in early April in Minneapolis, I guess this is the national change.

    • Prospero424
    • 12 years ago

    Well, with this, Comcast just saved themselves a customer. I had recently gotten fed up with their morbidly anemic (relatively) upload speeds and their customer-unfriendly business practices.

    But I saw this today and I realized that I still had all of my upstream transfers capped at a total of 40KBps, shut off the throttles, and sure enough I was getting 120KBps!

    Very nice to occasionally get something for nothing…

    • MadManOriginal
    • 12 years ago

    That’s nice, but the caps aren’t. I still say screw Comcast if they decide to roll out the caps nationwide. What I don’t get is how are they both upgrading the service and deciding to implement caps? Upgraded service implies the infrastructure can handle it, since the supposed basis for the caps was that bandwidth hogs hurt other user’s speeds. I think this is just a feely-good marketing ploy because upload still matters a lot less for the majority of users, the possibility of caps for all users is more telling.

      • Prospero424
      • 12 years ago

      Meh, I still think they’re doing what they’ve been doing all along: trying to use “problem customers” as an excuse to incrementally roll out and raise the price on overages.

      They’ve watched the big wireless providers glean a higher and higher percentage of net profits from their overage charges and SMS fees, and now they want in on the action.

      So they’re going to start the overages really high at 250GB saying it’s only for customers who are causing problems (that they’re bandwidth planning should be correcting for in the first place), then they’ll slowly lower that cap, increase speeds without increasing the cap, or find some other way to literally encourage customers to violate their user terms so they can justify tacking on the pure-profit overage fees.

      Of course, there’s always the chance that I’m wrong and that they’ll behave in good faith, but with Comcast’s history and my own experience with them, I’m not going to be holding my breath.

      But for now, I’m happy…

        • MadManOriginal
        • 12 years ago

        Oh, I agree and have said the same things before. The ISPs were riding the wave of technology growth and growing revenues. I’m sure their growth numbers were nice for the shareholders and inside shareholders and they want to maintain that. But the growth just couldn’t continue and now they’ve become more of a utility than a high-flying tech sector they just don’t want to give up their former status. I generally don’t like government regulation but given the monopoly or oligopoly status of broadband providers in the US they will need to be regulated as utilities at some point and their growth expectations will have to become more in line with a utility type of service.

    • alex666
    • 12 years ago

    Aren’t even these improved speeds still pretty pathetic compared to what’s available in other countries?

      • codin
      • 12 years ago

      #9 yes they are.
      got 50Mbps down, and 4mbps for the upload (up to 50 for local), for the last 3 years, and im stunned that the biggest US cable netw can’t top this yet.
      Ohh well, i will soon be a Comcast customer, so they better boost theyre bandw.

      • d2brothe
      • 12 years ago

      Yes, they are, the US is very far behind when it comes to network infrastructure AND cell service, surprise surprise…

        • Krogoth
        • 12 years ago

        Not really, USA has the best internet infrastructure in the entire planet. The entire internet routes right through the USA and it has half of the major DNS root hosts.

        Sure, those “wonder” niches in South Korea, Japan, Scandinavian countries may have cheap, super-fast connections. They are only good for their local stuff. Their connections to elsewhere are about the same if not worse than USA.

          • FubbHead
          • 12 years ago

          Eh…. You’re not making any sense. The entire internet routes right through every single country with internet access. It all depends on which route is the best from point A to point B.

        • ludi
        • 12 years ago

        On what basis?

        I hear people throw claims around like this, and it seems the purpose of these claims is mostly to score cheap points on forums. My challenge: defend that claim with evidence, and make certain that your answer can accurately account for the differences in population density and total land area.

          • BobbinThreadbare
          • 12 years ago

          Nearly every other country doesn’t have to pay for incoming calls on their cell phone, just like a land line.

            • ludi
            • 12 years ago

            Bzzzt. By comparison, if there was an argument regarding the alleged inferiority of European sanitation infrastructure, and someone proposed that public pay-restrooms were evidence of this, would you accept that? I sure wouldn’t. Restrooms aren’t free. Different people in different countries have found different ways of addressing that expense, and while the different way is strange to those not accustomed to it, it is not self-evidently wrong.

            Incoming celluar calls aren’t free, either. Someone has to pay for it. One way or another, that someone is you, the cellular customer, and the only meaningful distinction is how well you hide that from yourself. Meanwhile, federal telecom law in the US explicitly prevents telemarketers and like organizations from accessing cellular numbers, so in general, you shouldn’t be receiving calls from any person or business you haven’t supplied with your number. If you are, you can take steps to have it stopped.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 12 years ago

            In the US, *[

            • ludi
            • 12 years ago

            Speaking as someone who still has a landline, they cost about $20/month not including long distance or any other options whatsoever, and you have to provide your own phone or lease one from the telecom provider. That’s a flat-rate way of approaching the problem, but not a free one, and largely has to do with the fact that the US had decades to develop a robust and ubiquitous land-line telephone system spanning a large portion of an entire continent — very different from Europe, which destroyed vast swaths of its own infrastructure twice, and had to rebuild each time within the varying standards that arose in numerous geopolitical boundaries. The rapid and legally-dictated standardization of GSM cellular and associated service structures in Europe was partly a reaction to the fact that Europe never had a chance to develop a land-line system as good as what the US got.

            Land-line also rapidly becomes more expensive than basic cellular without the carry-anywhere convenience if you use a lot of long-distance or add services like voicemail or caller ID. The only thing that is “free” on any active phone whatsoever is 911, by virtue of federal telecom law, and even then your taxes are paying for the emergency infrastructure.

            This isn’t consistent with what I would identify as the consumer getting “screwed”. It’s a service, it costs money to provide it, and infrastructure and fees have evolved over time to best meet the demands placed upon it by the majority of its consumer base. It may not best meet your specific criterion for it, but since your criterion seems to be premised around a false belief of getting something for nothing, I am not swayed — everyone wants that.

    • Nelliesboo
    • 12 years ago

    I have been able to hold 1.5 – 2.2KB/s down since Jan.

      • sreams
      • 12 years ago

      1.5-2.2KB/s? That’s terrible. Do you mean Mbps?

        • Nelliesboo
        • 12 years ago

        yea

          • nstuff
          • 12 years ago

          I’ve had 16/2 and regularly download over 2mb/s for about 6 months now with Comcast.

          Speedtest.net says 18006 kb/s download and 1849 kb/s upload with 45ms ping.

    • d2brothe
    • 12 years ago

    Ha…at 160 Mbps I wonder how fast you could burn through a 250 GB quota :P.

      • Forge
      • 12 years ago

      I don’t know, but I know I’ve knocked down 1TB+ in a month in the past, thanks to Giganews logging. Comcast has never said a thing about it.

      I’m guessing that the quotas are going to be most enforced in areas where there are a number of heavy downloaders. Here in semi-rural SE PA, there are enough casual users (<1GB a month, maybe even less) that a few heavy users here and there only balance out. In some place like Philadelphia, the physical proximity alone would concentrate the userbase. 1 1TB guy per town or county should be fine, 10 or 20 in a few city blocks is bound to tax the infrastructure.

        • Ragnar Dan
        • 12 years ago

        I think my Comcast is plain old regular, whatever that is now, but generally my downloads run around 900KB/s, and last I heard my uploads were supposed to be at 512 Kbit, not 384. Whatever the case, faster uploads are always a bonus if they come.

        Which Giganews service do you buy, and… is it worth the money to you? I never can find enough reason to pay extra for something like that, esp. when there are other things out there for $0.

          • Forge
          • 12 years ago

          Gold package. It’s expensive but I beat the money’s worth out of it regularly.

          Did I mention 1TB of transfers in one not-especially-remarkable month? It’s all at line speed, so if you have a thing for foreign TV shows or you use the interwebs as your DVR, if you pirate movies/software regularly, then yes, it can be very worth it.

          On the other hand, if you don’t download tons of stuff, nor desire to, then Usenet would be a big waste.

            • Usacomp2k3
            • 12 years ago

            So for those of us with morals, it’d be a waste?

            • Price0331
            • 12 years ago

            /end ignorant post.

            • Ragnar Dan
            • 12 years ago

            Thanks for the reply.

            Yeah, I don’t really download much recently, so aside from a desire to keep my ISP from knowing what I might be reading or downloading, I have no real use for another Usenet provider.

            I used to read Usenet quite a bit more than I do now. It’s been quite a few years since I started, and it was… different back in the day: almost everyone on there was related to either a research institution or a university. 🙂

      • Krogoth
      • 12 years ago

      Good luck finding a server that has that much bandwidth. 😉

        • codin
        • 12 years ago

        torrents dont require server bandw mate, just tons of seeders,neither dcc connections. The problem is with http/ftp servers.
        ps: and yes, im exceeding the 250 easily

          • Krogoth
          • 12 years ago

          Again, that depends entirely on torrent itself.

          You will only see that kind of bandwidth with a torrent with a generous seeder bandwidth a.k.a very popular files or *nix ISOs.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 12 years ago

            I think if comcast tries to limit me ever, in an act of civil disobedience I’m going to torrent every linux iso I can think of at least 10 times.

            • indeego
            • 12 years ago

            Comcast blinks at you. That wouldn’t be a blip on their radar. Take down their DNS servers, well, then you’ll be noticedg{<...<}g

      • Entroper
      • 12 years ago

      Less than 3.5 hours. Assuming you had a data source that could actually feed you at that rate.

    • Forge
    • 12 years ago

    FWIW, I’ve got the 2MBps upstream already, and have had it for a few weeks at least. I noticed when I grabbed a torrent (don’t do that often) and realized I was DLing at 300KB/s. I then noticed that upstream was pegged between 250-300KB/s.

    Usenet is still a good solid 2MB/s down sustained, and I care about that more.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This