tech

MN Comcast customers got a free speed upgrade today

Some Comcast internet customers in Minnesota got big boosts in their download speed Monday – at no extra cost, and nothing needs to be done except restart the modem.

Comcast said in a news release people on the Performance 25 plan will go from 25 Mbps download speeds, up to 55 Mbps download speeds. And those on the 50 Mbps Performance plan will be pushed up to 70 Mbps download speed. (Upload speeds aren’t changing, so if you put a lot of big videos on YouTube, this won’t help that specific activity.)

This affects all the above-mentioned Comcast customers across the Twin Cities and in the company’s Greater Minnesota service territory, which includes New Ulm, Madelia, Waverly and New Prague, Comcast spokesperson Dave Nyberg told GoMN.

If you’re one of these customers, you probably got an email from Comcast giving you a heads-up. How much you pay each month won’t change – the price is the same. The download speeds are just getting jacked up.

You’ll probably need to reset your modem for the new speeds to kick in, and directions to do that are here.

“These increases reflect our commitment to bring faster internet speeds to our customers, just like we’ve done almost every year for more than a decade,” said Regional VP of Comcast Twin Cities Jeff Freyer in the announcement. “Our goal is to deliver a great value and superior online experience for our customers.”

Nyberg reiterated what Freyer outlined – that Comcast is getting better, in an effort to give more customers better internet. He also mentioned Comcast has increased speeds 17 times over the past 15 years.

Here’s a good site to test your download and upload speeds (though note a wireless connection will usually be slower than a wired connection; and if the network is being used for other things while you run the test, it could impact results).

Stiff, speedy competition right now

It’s worth noting Comcast is also facing some serious competition in the Twin Cities from other internet providers.

U.S. Internet, which is based in Minnesota, has been expanding its fiber network in Minneapolis for the past few years, with plans to keep growing.

The company offers 50 Mbps upload and download speeds for $34.95 a month with no contract. Comcast now advertises a $39.99 a month deal for 55 Mbps up/down, with a one-year agreement. (Comcast used to charge about that much for 25 Mbps download speeds.)

U.S. Internet also offers a speed of 1 Gbps upload and download for $69.95 a month (and even has a 10 Gbps option for way more). The downside of U.S. Internet is, it’s only available in some neighborhoods in Minneapolis. Nowhere else.

Comcast meanwhile serves 90 percent of the Twin Cities metro area, Nyberg said.

The other service provider really tightening the competition is CenturyLink, which has been rolling out its own fiber service throughout the Twin Cities since 2014. Like U.S. Internet, it’s not widely available – though the company’s fiber map shows service in Minneapolis and Owatonna.

CenturyLink’s plans in the Twin Cities start at $29.99 a month for 40 Mbps internet for 12 months, which also includes Prism TV. The 1 Gbps service starts at $79.95 a month, again for one year and with Prism TV.

OK, so how fast can I download stuff now?

A quick math note – there are 8 megabits in 1 megabyte; a digital song usually comes in at around 4 megabytes, while a movie is about 6,144 megabytes, according to the National Broadband Map website.

So at 25 Mbps, you could download a song in 0.6 seconds, and a movie in 16 minutes, the site says.

At 50 Mbps, you’re at 0.3 seconds for the song, and 8 minutes for the movie.

And at 100 Mbps, the song will get to you in less than 0.1 seconds, and the movie in about 50 seconds.

GoMN

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