Comcast, looking to grab broadband bragging rights from Verizon Communications, announced it is launching a 305 Megabit per second service in markets in the Northeast U.S. -- priced at a hefty $300 per month -- while also doubling the speeds for current customers of its 25 and 50 Megabit per second services for no additional cost.
Comcast's Xfinity Platinum Internet service, with download speeds of up to 305 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 65 Mbps, will cost $299.95 per month either standalone or bundled with TV and voice. Included in the service for no additional charge are Xfinity Signature Support (a $9.95-per-month value), which provides customers 24-hour tech support; a dedicated "personal communications consultant" assigned to the account; and a DOCSIS 3.0-based wireless gateway.
Comcast is launching the broadband enhancements and offerings in markets including Boston, Hartford, Conn., Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Pa., Wilmington, Del., Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Richmond, Va., and New Jersey.
"With the launch of Xfinity Platinum Internet, Comcast continues to be a leader when it comes to delivering the fastest broadband speeds in the U.S.," Cathy Avgiris, Comcast's executive vice president and general manager of data and communications services at Comcast, said in announcing the service.
Last month, Verizon launched FiOS Quantum with a top speed of 300 Mbps in many markets, and it also hiked pricing and connection speeds for most existing customers. The FiOS 300-Meg service, which provides 65 Mbps upstream, is available only on a standalone basis for $209.99 monthly with no contract or $204.99 with a two-year contract.
The FiOS 300 Mbps and Comcast's 305 Mbps services are largely about staking marketing claims -- which have been a source of contention between the two.
Last month, following a complaint by Verizon, the Council of Better Business Bureaus' National Advertising Division ruled that Comcast should stop making the unqualified claim that its Xfinity Internet service is the "fastest in the nation." However, NAD found that Comcast would be able to back up a claim that it is one of the three fastest ISPs in the nation, according to a 2011 PC Magazine study, or claim that it is the fastest Internet option for most consumers in its service areas where Verizon's FiOS service is not available.
According to Comcast, the speed increases for Xfinity Blast (from 25 to 50 Mbps) and Extreme 50 (from 50 to 105 Mbps) customers represent the seventh time since 2002 that Comcast has increased speeds for its customers.
"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," Avgiris said. "We will continue to increase speeds as customer demands evolve."