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Comcast Gives Retail A Whirl In Florida

Expanding on similar efforts underway in select markets in the northeastern U.S., Comcast has targeted a small set of stores in Florida as part of its ongoing trials of a prepaid Internet product.

Comcast is pitching the product, called Xfinity Internet Prepaid, at two BrandsMart stores in Miami, and another in Sunrise, a city in east-central Broward County. BrandsMart, a discount retailer, is also selling the Xfinity Internet Prepaid kit via its Web site.

Comcast has been selling its prepaid Internet offering at select retailers in parts of Philadelphia, New Jersey, Delaware, and Detroit, where it’s also testing a prepaid TV service.  Comcast has also set up a phone number (855-75-PREPAID) to accept and fulfill orders.

A Comcast official said the MSO’s prepaid products are still in the trial phase, and that the limited retail expansion in Florida is an effort to test out another small sample with different demographics.

Comcast began to trial prepaid Internet services in the fall of 2012, and limits it to consumers who do not have an active account with the MSO or otherwise do not qualify for one of its post-paid products.

For consumers who qualify, Comcast sells a prepaid Internet starter kit for $69.95 that comes with a DOCSIS 3.0 modem, required cabling and 30 days of service. After that, customers can obtain service refills -- $15 for seven days, or $45 for 30 days – by purchasing refill codes from participating retailers or online at a www.xfinityprepaid.net. Comcast limits the speed of its prepaid Internet product to 3 Mbps downstream by 768 kbps upstream.

Comcast, which ended the first quarter with about 21 million high-speed Internet subscribers, has not announced how many customers have taken its prepaid products, which are generally viewed as a low-risk option for lower income households and consumers who can’t qualify for post-paid services because they have poor credit or don’t have a bank account.