The prepaid model is working well for wireless phone and data providers, so wired cable companies are trying out no-contract, lower-cast services for at-home Internet.
Comcast is one of the first major U.S. cable operators to try this approach through Xfinity Prepaid Internet Service available in some areas of Philadelphia, Delaware and New Jersey.
Comcast introduced this contract-free, 3Mbit/s downstream Internet product in the Philadelphia area in late 2012, reports LightReading.com.
The Xfinity Internet Prepaid Service is promoted through a dedicated website and with more than 70 stores, including select wireless retail outlets run by Alpha Wireless Communications, T-Mobile USA, Cricket Communications Inc., Speed Wireless and others.
Here’s how it works:
For a price of $69.95 plus taxes, you pay once for a starter kit that includes a modem, coaxial cable, Ethernet cable, power cord, user guide and activation code for 30 days of service. Every 30 days you re-up online or by purchasing a card at a local retailer.
Pricing: $15 for seven days, or $45 for 30 days.
While pricing is attractive, the downside is speed. The service is not the fastest commonly available through Comcast for most homes.
According to Light Reading Cable:
The initial prepaid tier is limited to 3Mbit/s downstream and 768Kbit/s upstream. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) presently defines “broadband” as 4Mbit/s down by 1Mbit/s, which could be why Comcast has decided to affix the “Internet” label to its new prepaid option.
Comcast considers this pilot program just a trial, and is not saying if it will extend a prepaid product to other markets.