Comcast Test Shines Light On Retail (Again)

In an apparent tune up for an expected, formal national launch, Comcast has reinstated a retail option on a Web site that is serving as home base for a prepaid Internet trial. 

The retail option on the site disappeared temporarily in the spring as Comcast focused on a  new call-in number: 855-75PREPAID, suggesting that Comcast was moving ahead on a fulfillment strategy that could help to accelerate a national deployment of the MSO’s new prepaid Internet offer.

The Xfinity Prepaid Internet site currently lists out both the retail and the call-in options. According to the site, the retail option is currently limited to 88 retail outlets in parts of Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, including some T-Mobile, Cricket and Radio Shack stores, as well as some smaller, mom and pop shops.

Comcast initially tested the prepaid Internet product in those Philly-area markets, but, according to Multichannel News research conducted earlier this month, the MSO has since extended the trial to most of the MSO’s service areas, including Denver; Chicago; Seattle; Salt Lake City; Detroit; Baltimore; Boston; Atlanta; Houston; Minneapolis; and Pittsburgh. At the time, a Comcast spokesman said the prepaid product remains in trial mode as the MSO continues “to test this particular channel to study our operational readiness, communications and customer education to learn more.”

Comcast doesn’t appear to be marketing the product heavily during the trial, but the site does present a clear “Buy Now” call to action message.

The prepaid Starter Kit includes a DOCSIS 3.0 modem, the required cabling and 30 days of Internet service, for $69.95. After 30 days, customers can refill the service for either seven days for $15, or 30 days for $45, using a credit at, or by purchasing special refill cards at one of the supporting retail outlets.

The service, which appears to be tailored to consumers without bank accounts, poor credit or who would otherwise not quality for Comcast’s postpaid high-speed Internet service, offers maximum speeds of 3 Mbps downstream and 768 kbps upstream. Comcast if offering the prepaid Internet product only to serviceable addresses that do not have an active Comcast account.