In an undisguised bribe, one of America’s most loathed companies a.k.a. Comcast doubled Internet speed yesterday for me and millions of other customers (Xfinity Internet Blast tier) in the Northeast from 50Mbps to 105Mbps at no extra cost.
SI’s Internet Speed Before Doubling
SI’s Internet Speed After Doubling
Comcast’s decision to boost Internet speeds is aimed at minimizing opposition from consumers and consumer advocacy groups who are deeply opposed, and rightly so, to the company’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable.
The speed increase came on the same day as Congressional hearings in the U.S. Senate to determine whether Comcast should be allowed to buy Time Warner Cable.
Comcast also boosted speeds for its Extreme 105 tier customers to 150 Mbps (formerly 105 Mbps).
America’s largest Internet service provider, Comcast is already a monopoly in many parts of the country and if it’s allowed to buy Time Warner Cable its power will only increase further.
While Comcast has previously enjoyed a vice-like grip with broadband consumers despite rotten service and high prices, the acquisition will no allow the company to squeeze content providers if the acquisition goes through.
It’s safe to assume that if the Time Warner deal goes through, Comcast’s profitability will increase significantly because it will have the content providers (like ABC, ESPN, HBO and countless other programming outfits) by the cojones. If content providers refuse to yield to Comcast’s hardball tactics and drop out, it will have the effect of reducing consumer choice.
Because of monopolies like Comcast, America has one of the lowest average Internet speeds for a developed country, way below countries like Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Netherlands, Denmark, Iceland and Japan.
U.S. consumers also pay some of the highest rates for broadband Internet service.
While PC costs, microprocessors prices, computer storage costs, smartphone and tablet cost etc keep going down or remain steady, Comcast has repeatedly increased Internet access rates and forces consumers to buy bundles (Internet, TV and phone) through pricing gimmicks.
Comcast has already made it clear it will not cut prices for consumers even if the Time Warner acquisition goes through.
Comcast also has a terrible record of customer service and tremendous hostility toward American workers. The company has outsourced troubleshooting customer problems to countries like Philippines and Mexico (if you think Indians have a ‘bad English accent’ try listening to a Mexican or Filipino attempting to speak English).
In a recent survey by Consumer Reports on Internet service, both Comcast and Time Warner Cable were graded ‘mediocre‘ on overall satisfaction.
I desperately hope Comcast will not be allowed to purchase Time Warner Cable but since our politicians are in bed with large corporations I’m not that optimistic.
To get the speed boost from Comcast, just unpower your modem for a minute and then plug the electric cord back in.
I did a speed test before and after the speed boost (see images above).
Before the speed boost, my download speed was 57.71Mbps and upload was 11.80Mbps.
After the speed host, the download speed jumped to 120.92Mbps while the upload speed remained constant at 11.80Mbps.
One reason I got such high speeds was because I did the tests at 1:34AM in the morning when my neighbors were sleeping. Were my neighbors awake and watching Salman Khan videos (ha ha ha) on the Internet, then my speed would have been a little lower.
Does the higher speed make a difference?
It took just a few seconds to download the 569-page The Global Competitiveness Report 2013-2014 PDF report to my computer.