Comcast Kicks Tires on Prepaid Internet

Hoping to tap into a new customer segment, Comcast is testing a relatively low-speed prepaid Internet service -- starting at $69.95 for a kit that includes a cable modem and 30 days of access -- in the greater Philadelphia region.

Comcast spokesman Charlie Douglas said the MSO currently has no plans to expand the test beyond the Philadelphia metro area, which includes parts of New Jersey and Delaware. The MSO initiated the test last fall. “It’s something we’re trying to learn from,” Douglas said.

Light Reading reported on the Xfinity Prepaid test on Tuesday.

The service offers up to 3 Megabits per second download and up to 768 Kbps of upload speed. That’s compared with 6 Mbps down for Comcast's entry-level Performance Starter tier, priced at $49.95 per month.

After purchase of the initial kit, service costs $15 for seven days or $45 for 30 days of additional access, according to Comcast’s website for the service at

According to Comcast, the advantage of the prepaid service is that it doesn’t require an annual contract or a credit check, and offers pay-as-you-go pricing.

“Some folks may want the flexibility of getting online without a long-term commitment,” Douglas said. Comcast has no plans currently to test prepaid TV or voice services, he added.

Prepaid service plans are common in the wireless industry. Service providers like prepaid services because they generate guaranteed revenue and don’t require chasing down late payments or delinquent accounts.