Have a need for speed? Comcast hopes so.
The nation’s largest Internet provider announced its new xFi Advanced Gateway modem across its network Wednesday, offering customers who subscribe to the company’s Gigabit Internet package download speeds of up to one gigabit per second and upload speeds of a comparatively paltry 35 megabits-per-second (or Mbps).
The modem, which will cost roughly $10 per month to rent, will also function as a WiFi router to allow devices around your home to tap into the speedy connection and can interact with smart home devices such as Nest thermostats or Philips Hue lightbulbs.
Those who want the new box can order it via phone or through the xFi app.
Comcast says 70% of its network will be able to take advantage of the gigabit speeds, with upgrades continuing in 2018. Those in markets currently without gigabit will still be able to get the new modem.
ricing for the gigabit connection will vary by market. In New York and Philidelphia, the company offers speeds of 1000 Mbps for $79.99 per month for the first 12 months, with the price jumping to $104.95 per month after the first year.
You also will need the aforementioned new modem, an extra $10 per month (plus the usual taxes and fees).
One important thing to note: Comcast’s monthly terabyte data caps will still apply to those with the gigabit plan. The company says that 98% of its customers don’t hit this number, but if you use a lot of data then you will want to monitor your data usage or consider subscribing to Comcast’s unlimited plan, an extra $50 per month.
Another addition to the gigabit party
With 25.5 million Internet subscribers, Comcast is the largest broadband provider in the country. While the company has been trialing gigabit connections in recent months, it is far from the first to offer the fast connection.
Alphabet’s Google, through its Google Fiber subsidiary, kickstarted the trend among Internet providers when it brought the speedy Internet to the Kansas City metropolitan area in 2012.
Since then a number of Internet providers including AT&T, CenturyLink, Cox and Verizon have introduced their own high-speed offerings, delivering gigabit or close-to-gigabit connections to speed-hungry users in their respective areas often for around $100 per month. Slower tiers are also often available, for those who don’t necessarily need all that speed.
Good for the future, but may not be needed in the present
If you are someone who does a lot of online gaming, watches plenty of Netflix or Amazon Prime in 4K or is uploading tons of HD and 4K content then a gigabit service like Comcast’s new offering may be well worth the price. If you don’t check those boxes, you likely will be more than fine without it.
That said, the spread of gigabit fiber connections is a good thing for Internet users in the long term. With increased competition between the traditional Internet providers as well as wireless networks (all four major wireless carriers are in the stages of rolling out their own gigabit connections to give you fast speeds over 4G LTE), prices should only continue to decrease.