Zoom in / Comcast’s xFi Advanced Gateway with Wi-Fi 6E.

Comcast

For Comcast Internet customers frustrated by the cable service’s slow upload speeds, there has been some welcome news recently. But having Comcast’s faster upload comes with a catch—users can get faster upstream speeds just by purchasing xFi Complete, which adds $25 to monthly broadband costs.

“With the market launch, upload speeds for Xfinity Internet customers subscribing to xFi Complete will be boosted between 5x and 10x faster,” announcement last week said. “xFi Complete includes an xFi gateway, advanced cybersecurity protection at home and on the go, technical automatic upgrades for a new gateway after three years, and wall-to-wall Wi-Fi coverage with the xFi Pod [Wi-Fi extender] included if recommended. Another benefit of xFi Complete is the faster upload speed.”

Comcast is rolling out the speed upgrade in the Northeast US over the next few months. Plans with 10 Mbps upload speeds will get up to 100 Mbps upload speeds once the new tiers roll out in your region — if you pay for xFi Complete. Comcast told Ars that the faster upload speeds will roll out to customer-owned modems “later next year,” but did not provide a more specific timeline.

There is a cheaper way to get the same xFi Gateway with Wi-Fi 6E, as Comcast offers the option to lease this hardware for $14 per month. But Comcast makes upload boosting available only to those who subscribe to the more expensive xFi Complete service.

While standard monthly rate for xFi Complete is $25, new customers who sign up by December 31st can get it for $20 a month in the first year of service.

Comcast has an uncertain time for consumer-owned hardware

Today we asked Comcast if there was any technical reason why it could not provide the higher upload speeds to customer-owned equipment. A company spokesperson responded that Comcast is working on providing faster uploads to non-Comcast modems.

“We plan to expand the experience to customer-owned modems later next year and are working on the technical requirements as we learn,” Comcast said. “We first started offering it with our own equipment, and now we’re working on how to expand it to customer-owned equipment.”

Comcast also said that providing an upload boost to xFi Complete customers first follows its “typical validation, testing and certification process for a new network innovation.” But if the reasons for limiting upload increases to Comcast’s hardware initially were purely technical rather than revenue-based, it’s not clear why people who rent the gateway for $14 a month shouldn’t get the same benefit.

Comcast is also teasing full-duplex upgrades, which should provide symmetrical cable download and upload speeds. Comcast says it will offer multi-gigabit download and upload speeds to at least some cable customers “before the end of 2023.” It wouldn’t be surprising if these upgrades required a subscription to xFi Complete.

https://arstechnica.com/?p=1892437

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