New Comcast Packages Catch Some Heat

Comcast is taking some heat about a mix of new service packages that are being tested in the MSO’s West division that feature X1 and are being paired to some sizable broadband speed upgrades.

While critics see this approach as a way to counter the cord-cutting trend that has seen a growing number of consumers fill their video needs with internet-fed, over-the-top services, Comcast stressed that it has recently extended speed upgrades to the majority of its broadband customers, including internet-only customers, and that internet-only subs do have access to the speed tiers that are part of the new, enhanced bundles.

The new packages with the speed increases that have been subjected to that criticism were rolled out to Comcast’s West division last month and most recently to markets such as Houston, Texas; Portland, Ore.; and the state of Washington.

Here’s how those new packages with the free speed increase for existing Xfinity internet and X1 video customers stack up:

Speed increases that come with those packages follow similar, recent speed boosts for multiple internet tiers in Comcast’s Northeast and West divisions.

Critics, however, perceive the new packages that include the new speed upgrades as tools to help keep the cord-cutting trend in check as Comcast and other traditional pay TV operators continue to see their pay TV subscriber bases erode.

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“But for this go-round, cord cutters are not invited to the party,” The Houston Chronicle proclaimed.

Comcast acknowledged that it is testing some new multi-service packages in select markets that aim to make its bundles more attractive, but emphasized that it has also raised the speeds of internet-only customers and that those customers have the option to take any speed tier on a stand-alone basis – without having to also take Comcast’s pay TV product.

“This year alone, we have boosted speeds for Internet-only customers and customers in packages in more than two dozen different states across the country which added at least 50 Mbps more speed for these customers,” a Comcast official said in a statement. “In a few of our markets, we are also testing different multi-product packages by changing the Internet tiers for various packages we offer. Importantly, all of our internet tiers can be purchased as a stand-alone service by ANY Xfinity customer. We continue to deliver the fastest speeds to the most homes in the country – in fact, 75% of our customers now have speeds of 100 Mbps or higher and Gigabit service is now available to more than 90 percent of our service area, including Internet-only customers.”