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Comcast goes platinum with new 305/65 data tier

Tue, 07/24/2012 - 3:19pm
Mike Robuck

Verizon’s reign for having the fastest downstream data speed in the United States proved to be short-lived now that Comcast is set to launch its Xfinity Platinum Internet tier.

Using existing fiber to deliver the service, Comcast’s newest residential data tier features 305 Mbps on the downstream and 65 Mbps on the upstream. Last month, Verizon announced a 300/65 fiber-based tier to lay claim to the fastest data speeds in the nation.

The 300 Mbps tiers from Comcast and Verizon are more about bragging rights than racking up new subscribers. As a standalone service, Verizon’s FiOS Quantum 300/65 costs $209.99 per month and $204.99 per month with a two-year contract. By contrast, Comcast is charging $299.95 a month – both standalone and as part of a bundle – for those customers who have a need for more speed.

Comcast’s service uses a new commercial-grade wireless gateway and commercial-grade cable modem that are both provided for an additional $20 per month.

While cable operators are able to achieve download speeds of up to 1 Gbps by bonding DOCSIS 3.0-based channels, Comcast chose to use a fiber-based platform for its 305 tier, but it didn’t provide any additional details.

Comcast will begin to launch Xfinity Platinum Internet throughout markets in its Northeast Division “very soon,” according to a company spokesman. It’s expected that Comcast will offer its 305 Mbps service in areas where Verizon has launched FiOS Quantum.

In addition to faster speeds, the service also comes with various bells and whistles to set it apart from the competition, including a dedicated Personal Communications Consultant. Similar to the “white glove” customer service that Time Warner Cable provides with its high-end SignatureHome tier, a Personal Communications Consultant works directly with each subscriber to make sure the service is working correctly.

The service also features Xfinity Signature Support, for no additional charge, and Comcast’s Constant Guard Security Suite, the latter of which includes the latest version of Norton Security Suite.

“With the launch of Xfinity Platinum Internet, Comcast continues to be a leader when it comes to delivering the fastest broadband speeds in the U.S.,” said Cathy Avgiris, executive vice president and general manager of data and communications services at Comcast.

Comcast also announced this morning that it had doubled the speeds of two of its data tiers in some markets at no additional cost. Specifically, Xfinity Blast customers will now get download speeds of up to 50 Mbps (formerly 25 Mbps), and Extreme 50 customers will now receive speeds of up to 105 Mbps (formerly 50 Mbps). Comcast said it was the seventh time since 2002 that it had increased speeds for its customers.

“More customers are simultaneously connecting to the Internet through tablets, laptops and smartphones within their homes. Whether it’s to stream movies, upload photos, video chat with family and friends, or catch all of the Olympics action live on their tablets and connected devices, we want to ensure these consumers are getting the speeds they need,” Avgiris said. “We will continue to increase speeds as customer demands evolve. Comcast is committed to providing our customers with even more choices to get the best, fastest and most reliable experience possible.”

Comcast said it was launching these new enhancements and offerings across many major markets, including Boston; Hartford, Conn.; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Harrisburg, Penn.; Wilmington, N.C.; Baltimore; Washington, D.C.; Richmond, Va.; and New Jersey.

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