What do California, Kansas, Missouri, and Texas all have in common? If you answered "faster Internet speeds for Comcast customers," you'd be correct.
The cable Internet provider announced Friday that nearly all of its residential customers in those four states will be receiving increased Internet speeds. Comcast said it increased the speed of the three Xfinity Internet tiers that it offers: "Performance" is now 50 Megabits per second (Mbps), up from 25 Mbps; "Blast" is now 105 Mbps instead of 50 Mbps; and "Extreme 105" has increased to 150 Mbps.
"We continue to deliver the fastest speeds to the most homes so our customers can have a terrific online experience," says Eric Schaefer, senior vice president and general manager of data and communications services at Comcast, in a statement. "Whether it’s streaming video, gaming or just surfing the web, customers need an Internet provider that can deliver speed and reliability. Plus, since wireless access is becoming just as important as wired service, we also include complimentary access to Xfinity WiFi with most of our Internet service tiers. We currently offer about 3.6 million hotspots with plans to grow to eight million by the end of the year."
In a statement, Comcast explained that these changes will be phased in for customers over the next few days, though it noted that those who wish to receive "more immediate access" can restart their modem to do so. Comcast will alert customers if they need to upgrade their Comcast hardware to receive the faster Internet speeds.
Currently, Internet providers are feeling the pressure to boost customers' speeds. Google is currently working to bring high-speed Internet to 34 cities across the US as part of its Google Fiber initiative. According to statistics compiled in December of last year by the international pro-trade group OECD Broadband, the US pales in comparison to other countries when it comes to Internet speeds. In the US, only 7 percent of broadband subscribers use fiber connections, which are reportedly 100 times faster than basic broadband connections. Fiber is used by as many as 30 percent of subscribers in Sweden and as many as 60 percent in countries such as South Korea and Japan, according to the OECD statistics.
This comes at a time when Comcast is trying to buy rival broadband provider Time Warner Cable for a reported $45.2 billion.
"Together, Comcast and TWC will bring millions of consumers the next-generation of broadband Internet, video, voice, and related technologies," writes David L. Cohen, Comcast executive vice president and chief diversity officer in public policy, in an April statement.
Comcast also upgraded the Internet speed for 14 states and Washington, D.C. back in April, according to PCWorld.