Pricing: 2 Stars
It was easy to find pricing information for Comcast since I am within one of its serviceable regions. Like most of the other ISPs, Comcast requires potential customers to input a valid address before revealing plans and costs, and often will only show you what is available in your area. Luckily, my quiet corner of the country offers every primary Internet service tier except the recently launched Extreme 505 Mb/s service. We decided to exclude this offering from our review due to its low availability and seemingly business-class contract terms (a three-year minimum with additional line installation fees). Asking an outlandish $400 per month also seems a bit out of reach for standard residential users. Still, it's nice to dream of how many seats you could host at your next LAN party with that level of performance.
There were multiple bundles that brought the cost of certain Internet packages down to reasonable levels paired to television or broadband phone services. These plans offer promotional pricing for a contract term usually double the length of the discounted rate. For the sake of this review series, we only gathered data on stand-alone, non-promotional pricing.
Fortunately, Comcast offered flat-rate pricing on all but one of its performance tiers, which currently requires a two-year contract while offering a one-year promotional rate. Here's a list of Comcast's complete cable Internet service offerings, with unbundled prices and contract terms.
|Xfinity Internet Plan||Speed||Promotional Rate Term||Minimum Contract Term||Stand-Alone Price||Price to Performance|
|Economy Plus Internet||Up to 3 Mb/s||N/A||12 Months||$40/ month||$13.33 per Mb/s|
|Performance Starter Internet||Up to 10 Mb/s||N/A||12 Months||$50/ month||$5.00 per Mb/s|
|Performance Internet||Up to 25 Mb/s||12 Months (At $30/ month)||24 Months||$67/ month||$2.68 per Mb/s|
|Performance Pro Internet||Up to 75 Mb/s||N/A||12 Months||$77/ month||$1.02 per Mb/s|
|Blast! Internet||Up to 150 Mb/s||N/A||12 Months||$79/ month||$0.52 per Mb/s|
Our readers expressed overall dissatisfaction with Comcast's pricing, and after breaking down each plan's cost per Mb/s, it appears warranted that the company scored a sub-par two (2.11) stars on a scale of five. Some readers may have been influenced to give Comcast a low rating on pricing due to imposed data limits in certain regions.
Others were quick to address the staggering price-to-performance ratio, with Comcast generally charging more money per megabit than alternative DSL providers for roughly the same speeds. This isn't as prevalent when you approach the top of Comcast's residential service tier, but the company's service plans do not become cheaper than comparable DSL offerings until they rise above most providers' maximum throughput, with 150 Mb/s at 52 cents per Mb/s. However, even 150 Mb/s customers were generally unhappy with their pricing, despite heavily praising Comcast's performance and reliability.
"The price is too high, and will be even higher with the new data caps," said one reader, who scored Comcast above four stars in all areas except pricing.
Once again, this debacle seems to boil down to availability. Many of our readers indicated that Comcast was the only high-speed Internet option in their area, and that having no alternative meant dealing with the company's regional data caps and high price points.