Comcast Testing Out Prepaid Internet Access

All the fun of being a Comcast customer without the contract.

All the fun of being a Comcast customer without the contract.

Given that millions of consumers choose to use prepaid wireless plans for their phones, is it that much of a stretch to think the prepaid model will work for home Internet access? That’s what Comcast is trying to figure out with its new Xfinity Prepaid service.

Just like prepaid wireless, the Comcast offering doesn’t require a contract. Instead, you fork over $70 for a “starter kit” — modem, coaxial cable, Ethernet cable, power cord, user guide and activation code for 30 days of service.

After that, you can prepay for service in chunks of either seven days ($15) or 30 days ($45), which is slightly less than many Xfinity customers are paying for contract service.

However, there is a trade-off. The download speed is only around 3 Mbps, not terribly slow, but not exactly lightning fast either. It’s half the 6 Mbps of the lowest Xfinity tier promoted to contract customers. The FCC recently updated its definition of “broadband” to be “4 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream.”

Right now, the service is only being offered to people in Philadelphia, and certain areas of New Jersey and Delaware.

Comcast Pitches Pre-Paid Internet Service

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.