Archive for the ‘Comcast’ Category

Comcast raising TV and Internet prices, including a big hike to hidden fees

November 25th, 2020
Comcast Xfinity cable television installation truck parked on a street in front of a suburban home, San Ramon, California, May 17, 2018. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

Enlarge / Comcast Xfinity cable television installation truck parked on a street in front of a suburban home, San Ramon, California, May 17, 2018. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images) (credit: Getty Images | Smith Collection | Gado)

Comcast is raising prices for cable TV and Internet service on January 1, 2021, with price hikes coming both to standard monthly rates and to hidden fees that aren't included in advertised prices.

TV customers are getting an especially raw deal, as Comcast is adding up to $4.50 a month to the "Broadcast TV" fee and $2 to the Regional Sports Network (RSN) fee. That's an increase of up to $78 a year solely from two fees that aren't included in advertised rates.

As in past years, even customers who still are on promotional pricing will not be spared from the Broadcast TV and RSN fee increases. "Customers on promotional pricing will not see that pricing change until the end of the promotion, but the RSN and Broadcast TV fees will increase because they're not part of the promotional pricing," a Comcast spokesperson told Ars.

Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in Biz & IT, Comcast, Policy | Comments (0)

Comcast’s data cap finally goes nationwide in expansion to 12 more states

November 23rd, 2020
Illustration of a Comcast Internet user being yanked away from a computer monitor and other equipment.

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

Comcast's 1.2TB monthly data cap is coming to 12 more states and the District of Columbia starting January 2021. The unpopular policy was already enforced in most of Comcast's 39-state US territory over the past few years, and the upcoming expansion will for the first time bring the cap to every market in Comcast's territory.

Comcast will be providing some "courtesy months" in which newly capped customers can exceed 1.2TB without penalty, so the first overage charges for these customers will be assessed for data usage in the April 2021 billing period.

Comcast's data cap has been imposed since 2016 in 27 of the 39 states in Comcast's cable territory. The cap-less parts of Comcast's network include Northeastern states where the cable company faces competition from Verizon's un-capped FiOS fiber-to-the-home broadband service.

Read 19 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in Biz & IT, Comcast, data cap | Comments (0)

Broadband power users explode, making data caps more profitable for ISPs

November 13th, 2020
An illustration of $100 bills being sucked into an Internet connection.

Data cap cash. (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images)

The number of broadband "power users"—people who use 1TB or more per month—has doubled over the past year, ensuring that ISPs will be able to make more money from data caps.

In Q3 2020, 8.8 percent of broadband subscribers used at least 1TB per month, up from 4.2 percent in Q3 2019, according to a study released yesterday by OpenVault. OpenVault is a vendor that sells a data-usage tracking platform to cable, fiber, and wireless ISPs and has 150 operators as customers worldwide. The 8.8- and 4.2-percent figures refer to US customers only, an OpenVault spokesperson told Ars.

More customers exceeding their data caps will result in more overage charges paid to ISPs that impose monthly data caps. Higher usage can also boost ISP revenue because people using more data tend to subscribe to higher-speed packages.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in AT&T, Biz & IT, broadband, Comcast, data caps, openvault, Policy | Comments (0)

The tech antitrust problem no one is talking about

October 31st, 2020

After years of building political pressure for antitrust scrutiny of major tech companies, this month Congress and the US government delivered. The House Antitrust Subcommittee released a report accusing Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook of monopolistic behavior. The Department of Justice filed a complaint against Google alleging the company prevents consumers from sampling other search engines.

The new fervor for tech antitrust has so far overlooked an equally obvious target: US broadband providers. “If you want to talk about a history of using gatekeeper power to harm competitors, there are few better examples,” says Gigi Sohn, a fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy.

Read 16 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in AT&T, broadband, Charter, Comcast, Competition, Policy, verizon | Comments (0)

Comcast says gigabit downloads and uploads are now possible over cable

October 8th, 2020
Illustration of Internet cables filled with ones and zeroes.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Pasieka)

Comcast's cable Internet still has a heavy emphasis on download speeds, as even its gigabit-download service only comes with 35Mbps uploads. But that may not be the case forever, as today Comcast announced a "technical milestone" that can deliver gigabit-plus download and upload speeds over existing cable wires.

Specifically, Comcast said it conducted "a trial delivering 1.25Gbps upload and download speeds over a live production network using Network Function Virtualization (NFV) combined with the latest DOCSIS Technology." Comcast installed the service at a home in Jacksonville, Florida, where "the technology team consistently measured speeds of 1.25 Gbps upload and 1.25Gbps download over the connection."

The speeds were delivered over a hybrid fiber-cable network, with the coaxial cable providing the final connection into the home. That's nothing new—Comcast has been using both fiber and cable for years, but Comcast said the trial benefitted from the company's "ongoing effort to extend fiber further into neighborhoods." Normally, symmetrical gigabit speeds require a fiber-to-the-home connection. But many more homes have cable than fiber, so a symmetrical gigabit technology could be deployed faster if it doesn't require bringing fiber all the way to each building.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in Biz & IT, cable, Comcast, DOCSIS, fiber, gigabit | Comments (0)

Comcast adds new tri-band X-Fi pods to home Wi-Fi lineup

October 1st, 2020

Today, Comcast launched an upgrade to its existing Plume-based Wi-Fi mesh offerings, the X-Fi Pods. The new, tri-band X-Fi Pods appear to be direct implementations of Plume's Superpod design—which is good news for Comcast customers, since the Superpods still sit comfortably at the top of our Wi-Fi mesh performance charts.

The new tri-band X-Fi Pods are available today at $119 for one or $199 for two, and they integrate with X-Fi customers' existing $25/mo X-Fi managed Wi-Fi.

Why does tri-band matter?

One important distinguishing characteristic between Wi-Fi mesh kits is the number of radios in each node. The highest-performance mesh kits—such as Netgear Orbi RBK53, Plume Superpods, or the new X-Fi Pods announced today—have three radios in them, not just two. The extra radio allows the mesh nodes to simultaneously communicate both to the client devices connected to them and the "backhaul" (their connection upstream to the router) on 5GHz radios.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in Comcast, plume, pods, superpods, Tech, wi-fi, wi-fi mesh, WiFi, wifi mesh, X-Fi | Comments (0)

Comcast shut off Internet to hundreds, saying they were illegally connected

September 18th, 2020
A Comcast/NBC logo.

(credit: Comcast)

Comcast says that a broadband reseller illegally sold Comcast Internet service in residential buildings in the Denver area and has terminated the connections to those buildings.

As reported by Denver7 this week, the shutoff affected hundreds of people who live in buildings serviced by AlphaWiFi, "which installs and services Internet in approximately 90 apartment buildings across Denver." The shutoff came as a surprise to residents, including Kaley Warren, who has been working at home during the pandemic.

"It is my entire lifeline," said Warren, who said that without warning last Friday, her Internet service disappeared. "I felt lost. It was truly the first time during the pandemic that I... had the feeling of 'What am I supposed to do?'"

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in Biz & IT, Comcast, Policy | Comments (0)

Comcast lost 477,000 cable-TV customers in Q2 amid 12% drop in revenue

July 30th, 2020
A Comcast sign at the Comcast offices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Enlarge / A Comcast sign at the Comcast offices in Philadelphia. (credit: Getty Images | Cindy Ord )

Comcast lost 477,000 cable-TV subscribers in Q2 2020 amid a company-wide drop in revenue caused by the pandemic. The net-customer loss consists of 427,000 residential TV customers and 51,000 business TV customers, Comcast's earnings report today said. The customer losses are more than double the 224,000 net-customer loss in last year's second quarter.

Comcast's Q2 subscriber loss followed a Q1 loss of 409,000 TV customers, for a total of 886,000 video customers lost in the first six months of 2020. By contrast, Comcast lost 733,000 video customers in all of 2019, an average of 183,000 per quarter.

While Comcast's TV-customer losses accelerated this year, they're still only about half as large as the customer losses reported by DirecTV owner AT&T. Comcast is down to 20.4 million TV customers, which is higher than any other cable or satellite TV provider.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in Biz & IT, cable tv, Comcast | Comments (0)

Comcast’s data cap and overage fees return tomorrow after 3-month break

June 30th, 2020
Illustration of a water hose with Internet data trickling out of it, represented by 1s and 0s.

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

Comcast is scheduled to reinstate its home-Internet data cap tomorrow, July 1, after more than three months in which customers were provided unlimited data to help them through the coronavirus pandemic. AT&T, by contrast, announced today that it is "continuing to waive home-Internet data overage charges for AT&T Internet customers through September 30."

Comcast and AT&T suspended their data caps and overage fees in mid-March, initially promising two months of unlimited data. The companies later extended that pledge to June 30, but Comcast hasn't granted any further extensions. We contacted Comcast yesterday but didn't receive answers to questions about its data cap, and Comcast's website still says the data-cap waiver only goes through June 30. While Comcast didn't answer the data-cap questions, a spokesperson pointed out that the cable company extended other pandemic offers for college students and people with low incomes beyond June 30, and it is keeping its Wi-Fi hotspots open to the public for free for the rest of 2020.

Many US states are taking steps toward reopening their economies, which might reduce usage of home-broadband networks. But the pandemic is far from over, as the CDC reported over 40,000 new daily cases in the United States each day from June 25 to June 28, including the highest-ever daily count of 44,703 on June 27.

Read 29 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in AT&T, Biz & IT, Comcast, data caps, FCC, keep americans connected pledge, Policy | Comments (0)

Comcast, Mozilla strike privacy deal to encrypt DNS lookups in Firefox

June 25th, 2020
The Firefox logo.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Anadolu Agency)

Comcast is partnering with Mozilla to deploy encrypted DNS lookups on the Firefox browser, the companies announced today. Comcast's version of DNS over HTTPS (DoH) will be turned on by default for Firefox users on Comcast's broadband network, but people will be able to switch to other options like Cloudflare and NextDNS. No availability date was announced.

Comcast is the first ISP to join Firefox's Trusted Recursive Resolver (TRR) program, Mozilla said in today's announcement. Cloudflare and NextDNS were already in Mozilla's program, which requires encrypted-DNS providers to meet privacy and transparency criteria and pledge not to block or filter domains by default "unless specifically required by law in the jurisdiction in which the resolver operates."

"Adding ISPs in the TRR program paves the way for providing customers with the security of trusted DNS resolution, while also offering the benefits of a resolver provided by their ISP such as parental control services and better optimized, localized results," the announcement said. "Mozilla and Comcast will be jointly running tests to inform how Firefox can assign the best available TRR to each user."

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Posted in Biz & IT, Comcast, dns-over-https, Firefox, Mozilla, Policy | Comments (0)