Technology

Some Comcast customers are reporting increased internet speeds, free of charge

Comcast sign.
Comcast sign. TNS

Several weeks after the Federal Communications Commission’s vote to repeal net neutrality led many people to fear a future of slow, throttled internet speeds, Comcast users may have just received a pleasant surprise.

Users on social media and a report by the Houston Chronicle say the company increased internet speeds nationwide for many of its customers on Friday, without an additional charge.

Emails reportedly received by customers from Xfinity – Comcast’s brand for internet, TV and wireless services – say that affected users just need to restart their modems to get the upgrade.

Some speed boosts were reported at 25 percent or higher.

Others were smaller, such as a bump from 55 Mbps to 60 Mbps.

One Reddit user posted a thread to Sacramento’s city subreddit Friday morning regarding the boost. In that thread, a few users responded that they also received emails from Xfnity or noticed improved speed.

Twitter users from a variety of locales posted about the upgrades – some enthusiastic, others skeptical.

Skepticism comes from reports that Comcast will hike rates on cable TV and internet plans, expecting a 2.2 percent rise in customer bills in 2018. However, users currently locked into long-term contracts may not be affected.

A Comcast spokesman told the Chronicle that the increases were possible because of increased investment in the competitive market of Houston, as well as nationally.

Comcast last month announced it is launching a new service with speeds up to 1 gigabit per second to residential and business customers in Sacramento and nearby cities.

Data website Broadband Now lists six options for high-speed, residential internet service providers in Sacramento, but only two of them – Xfinity and AT&T – cover more than 28 percent of the city.

Sacramento’s average download speed of 37.22 Mbps is 44.5 percent slower than the California average, according to Broadband Now.

The Houston Chronicle noted that Comcast has offered free-of-charge speed boosts frequently over the years, at least in Houston. One upgrade doubled the speed of a low-tier plan.

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