Relook at Comcast with Data caps and pricing get the intro offers

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We got our Comcast bill down quite a lot (believe me I’m not looking to how much we will have to pay with net neutrality gone :-(), but I was surprised to see the bill pop to $80/month just for Internet. Here’s what I learned:

TL;dr.

If you are in Seattle and don’t need a lot of data:

  • Basic. $39.99 for 60Mbps with a 12-month commitment and a 1TB cap.
  • Midtier. $72 for 150Mbps but you need the right modem for 12-months and this includes their (not very good over the top streaming) with the 1TB/month cap. The one caveat is make sure you can actually get 150Mbps, our home is rated at 150Mbps, but we can never get more than 65Mbps.
  • Professional. $140 for 250Mbps business plan without any cap

Details

  1. The base price is $60 and there is a $15 uplift for something called Performance Pro. Wow, that’ seems like a lot.
  2. Looking at Comcast offers, it looks like for a 24-month plan, for $40 a month, you get Performance Plus. Also that Performance Plus gives you 60Mbps.
  3. In doing network testing, I see that the Motorola Surfboard SB6121 is a 4×4 modem with up to 172Mbps up and downstream. As a side note, you definitely want to buy a $50 modem rather than get one from Comcast. It is way too expensive to rent it.
  4. Faster modems are available now, the fastest are 24×8 data streams with the Netgear CM600 for $90 (Amazon) gives you a whopping 1Gbps download (if your carriers supports it, Seattle doesn’t 🙂 and 344 Mbps downstream. If you do the math a single stream is 43Mbps net and the number of channels scales up to give you more data.
  5. 1TB Data caps. If you are doing backups online, then you need to watch the new 1TB data cap, they are a rip off, if you go over, they charge $10/50GB with a $200 extra charge cap. They obviously want people to sign up for the additional $50/month which gives you unlimited. So now you need to watch your cable plan like you watch your cell phone. You do get two warnings before they start charging so beware. It is pretty easy to hit this if you are doing offline backup, so it is easier than you think if you want to keep your 1TB MacBook Pro’s safe…
  6. The solution to this problem is to buy the Business plan. Comcast does offer these with unlimited data bundled. They are $100 for unlimited data and 75Mbps for two years, so they’ve worked to make the pricing about the same as consumer pricing ($40+$50 is $90/month for 60Mbps unlimited data).
  7. The 150Mbps data plan is $54/month with the 1TB plan for new users, so to get this, I normally call them up and ask if they will just give this to me. Sometimes this works. It is $112 without the special offer, so you definitely want to call. The business side plan is $140/month, so even if you add the $50/month for unlimited data, it pays to stay consumer assuming you can get the trial deal.
  8. Finally, with a modem upgrade you can get to 250Mbps. I don’t know if this is available everywhere and it will require buying a Netgear CM400 or equivalent modem, but having 250Mbps is pretty cool in your home.

There are not a whole lot of choices for most people, but I do think it makes sense to have an arbitrage between providers, the ideal thing if you are a prosumer geek is to have a small business router that routes traffic across two carriers, then you get more speed and also redundancy.
So the choices in Seattle are up to 250Mbps for Comcast. CenturyLink has 1Gbps in certain spots and 2-250Mbps elsewhere and then there is Wave which has 25% coverage with 250Mbps. Not a bad that where we are, CenturyLink only has 3Mbps (is that still a thing) and Wave doesn’t know, so Comcast has the monopoly…
Photo by NASA on Unsplash.

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