Comcast Jacks Speed of Prepaid Internet Test

Consumers who take Comcast’s prepaid Internet service for a spin are getting a few more bits for the buck.

Comcast confirmed that it has raised the max speeds of the offering to 10 Mbps down by 1 Mbps upstream, from 3 Mbps down and 768 kbps up.

Even with the speed increase, Comcast’s prepaid high-speed Internet service still isn’t fast enough to be considered “broadband” when viewed through the lens of the FCC, which currently defines broadband as 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up.

Targeting consumers without bank accounts or those with bad credit history who don’t qualify for a post-paid data service, Comcast began to test its prepaid Internet product in late 2012.

Comcast has not said how many of its 23.32 million high-speed Internet customers are taking the prepaid option, but the MSO still characterizes prepaid as a trial.

Comcast’s prepaid Internet service requires a starter kit ($70 or $80, depending on the market) that includes the DOCSIS 3.0 modem, cables and 30 days of service. Following that first month, customers can buy seven days of service for $15 or 30 days for an additional $45.

Comcast is also testing a prepaid TV service in select markets, including Detroit, that features a starter kit that includes an HD Digital Transport Adapter and 30 days of service.

And there have been some changes made to that offer, which initially did not support HDTV or include sports networks. 

According to the latest lineup, the prepaid TV offerings include TV Prepaid 200 (local broadcast channels and a sports-free mix of national cable channels), and TV Prepaid 450 (locals, a wider selection of national cable channels, including sports nets such as ESPN, ESPN2, and  for a mix of local channels and national cable channels. Per the Comcast prepaid web site, it has also created two other tiers – TV Prepaid 200 Latino, and TV Prepaid 450 Latino.

The Prepaid 200 Starter Kit includes the cable box and 30 days of service for $80. Customers can then buy seven days of additional service for $15, or $45 for 30 days. The Starter Kit for Prepaid 450 costs $120, then offers seven days for $30, or 30 days of service for $90.