Comcast expanding its Internet Essentials program to seniors and working on higher speed options for everyone


Comcast isn't the most popular company in the US. In fact it's the least popular, at least according to The Consumerist, which awarded it with its "Worst Company in America" award last year. (The award is based on reader votes, which is why it seems to be an indicator of popularity, at least among Consumerist readers.)

Lately, however, there've been a few bits of good news coming from Comcast. Last week it was announced that they're starting to expand their Internet Essentials program. Currently this program provides 10 Mbps broadband to low-income families for $10/month. According to The Verge they'll be expanding this service to incorporate low-income senior citizens as well. The service will initially be offered in San Francisco, CA and Palm Beach County, FL, and hopefully Comcast intends to expand on the program quickly.

The other news is somewhat less altruistic but more widely applicable. Comcast's VP of network architecture Robert Howald told FierceCable that the company intends to upgrade its entire network to DOCSIS 3.1 in the next 2-3 years. DOCSIS 3.1 supports speeds up to 10 Gbps but Comcast's initial plan is to offer 1 Gbps service to all customers.

End users will have to upgrade their modems to take advantage of this new faster service and Comcast will be offering a new modem by early 2016.

There's no word on pricing yet. It'll probably depend on location and competition. For example shortly after Google Fiber announced it was coming to Raleigh, NC, Time Warner Cable bumped my Internet speeds from 30 Mbps down/5 Mbps up to 200 Mbps down/20 Mbps up for no additional cost. I assume Comcast will be similarly motivated to offer great deals in areas where they're up against competition (though I admit this is pure speculation on my part).

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