Comcast Lowers X1 Upgrade Fee

In another indication that Comcast is trying to accelerate the rollout of its IP-capable X1 platform, Comcast has lowered the “upgrade fee” for X1 in markets such as Philadelphia, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Though it's not clear that the policy is in place across Comcast's footprint yet, customers in those areas have mentioned on the DSL Reports message board that the upgrade fee, which comes into play when video subs on Comcast’s legacy video platform are moved over to X1, has been lowered to $19.99.

Depending on the market, the original one-time X1 upgrade fee ranged from $49.99 to $99, with Comcast noting then that the fees went toward the development and enhancement of X1 features. Customers on X1, a video service that features a cloud-based user interface and access to apps and other new elements such as in-home video streaming on PCs and tablets and acloud DVR, also require new boxes.

A Comcast customer who was alerted to the smaller upgrade fee for X1 noted on the DSL Reports message board that the price drop -- from $49.99 to $19.99 -- became effective on March 3, 2015, with Comcast citing “changes in business costs." 

Notably, Comcast now offers a self-install option for X1, which should help to reduce deployment costs because it removes truck rolls from the equation (Comcast began to test the X1 self-install kit last year).

Comcast didn’t comment on how it will shape and revise its policy for X1 upgrades in the weeks and months ahead, but this Web page about it still notes that subs who convert to the new platform are subject to a “one-time fee of up to $99 that is assessed, with limited exceptions that vary by market…”

Comcast has not announced how many of its 22.38 million video customers are on X1 today, but did say in October 2014 that it had deployed more than 5 million X1 boxes, and, even prior to that, said it was shipping about 20,000 X1 boxes per day. On that basis, back-of-the-napkin math suggests that Comcast has deployed more than 3.5 million more X1 boxes since late October, pushing its grand total toward 9 million.

Comcast initially rolled out X1 in Boston in May 2012, and now offers it in all systems.

Last fall, Neil Smit, president and CEO of Comcast Cable, reiterated that the current plan is to have the majority of Comcast’s customers on X1 within three years. “We’re right on track,” he said at the time.