Tue. May 21st, 2024

The rise in ‘fixed wireless’ 5G home internet and the end of the Affordable Connectivity Program have put pressure on internet service providers to lower prices. Comcast is now doing just that, with the introduction of new ‘NOW’ home internet and wireless plans.

NOW Internet is a prepaid home internet subscription, with 100 Mbps for $30 per month or 200 Mbps for $45 per month. Both tiers includes “unlimited data” and an Xfinity gateway. Importantly, this is using Comcast’s existing Xfinity landline infrastructure, not a 5G connection like the “fixed wireless” home internet services from T-Mobile and Verizon. That means it’s limited to areas that already have Xfinity home internet.

The NOW Mobile plan offers unlimited 5G, talk and text for $25 per line. It should function about the same as Comcast’s existing Xfinity Mobile unlimited plans, which uses Verizon’s nationwide network and currently starts at $40/month for one line or $30/mo per line for 2+ lines. It will have the same access to “more than 23 million Xfinity hotspots,” which might provide better speeds than 5G in specific areas. However, Comcast confirmed to The Verge that speeds will be throttled “during times of congestion after 20GB”

Comcast also announced NOW TV, a streaming service for Xfinity internet customers that includes “live and on-demand programming from 40+ networks, more than two dozen integrated FAST channels, and Peacock Premium” for $20/month. Finally, NOW WiFi Pass gives you access to all Xfinity WiFi hotspots for 30 days for $20. That just seems like a new name for the existing Xfinity WiFi Pass, which was already $20.

The new services are intended as a replacement for subsidized home and wireless internet through the federal Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Congress has not yet given additional funding to the ACP, so the benefit was recently cut in half to $14 per month, and may not continue past May.

We’ve seen other internet service providers and mobile carriers changing their plans to keep the customers currently using ACP plans. Verizon recently announced that it won’t raise prices for ACP customers after federal funding ends, and some people even get free home internet for the first six months. AT&T will also maintain low-cost internet plans after federal funding ends.

NOW TV and WiFi Pass are available starting today, and a national rollout for NOW Internet and NOW Mobile is expected “in the coming weeks.”

Source: Comcast, The Verge

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By John P.

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