Comcast Opens Up Super-speedy Internet

New York (NY) - Comcast this week began offering a new tier of Internet speed, allowing users a 50 mbps connection, which is quick enough to download a full HD movie in 10 minutes.

Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota are the test cities for the new connection option, with a main initial target of professional subscribers like businesses.

Eventually, said Comcast, it hopes to also offer speeds of as high as 160 mbps. By the end of the year, it said it plans for 20% of its consumer base to be covered by the new technology, which it calls a "wideband" connection.

It is a worthwhile announcement from Comcast, bringing a good piece of news to the forefront after its controversy with blocking Bittorrent file transfers.

In the last few months, reports began to surface that Comcast was methodically blocking Internet activity it deemed could be used for illegal content distribution. For example, it made users unable to download BitTorrent files, a modern platform commonly used in video and music pirating.

Comcast came under rigorous fire for its decision, with consumer rights advocates and supporters of Net Neutrality crying foul. In February, it went all the way to a hearing by the Federal Communications Commission.

That kind of pressure became too much for Comcast, despite its continuous claims that it was doing nothing wrong. Comcast had contended that its move was actually to reduce the strain on local cable lines. It decided to stop the questionable practice.

The new 50 mbps connection doesn't come cheaply. It carries a monthly subscription rate of around $150, three times what other Comcast broadband customers are paying.