Comcast boosts download speeds

Comcast has sharply increased the download speeds of some of its Inter­net services, the latest step in a battle among providers over one of the basic ser­vices of the online world.

The cable giant, which has seen the number of its Internet-only custom­ers equal and perhaps surpass its number of its TV customers, announced Tuesday that the maxi­mum download speed of its Blast tier would inrease by almost 50 percent to 150 Mbps without chang­ing the price. It also in­troduced a Performance Pro speed tier of 75 Mbps, which will be available to many customers who get so-called Xfinity Triple Play bundles, which in­clude voice and television, tripling current download speeds of 25 Mbps.

Upload speeds won’t change, according to re­ports.

Customers will be noti­fied by email when they’re eligible for the new speeds, and the company said many will have to unplug their modems and routers and plug them back in for it to take effect.

The change allows the Xfinity service to better take on the fiber-to-the-home Internet service that FairPoint runs in Nashua and parts of southern New Hampshire, which was known as FiOS when Veri­zon owned the local phone system. FairPoint’s DSL broadband, which travels over copper phone lines and thus is available to virtually all telephone cus­tomers, is slower but usu­ally less expensive.

Comcast and FairPoint are the the two dominant Internet providers for residences in the Nashua region, and both are trying to expand that business as their traditional business­es – cable-TV and voice telephone service – fade away.

Comcast, for example, is pushing its Comcast Business packages in an attempt to expand into the more lucrative industry of providing services to com­panies rather than homes, while FairPoint this spring turned part of its Man­chester facility into a data center, with banks of com­puters operating backup or outsourcing facility for other firms or institutions.

These businesses have brought the giants into competition with a num­ber of regional firms like Nashua’s Destek that have long specialized in those services.

Both Comcast and Fair­Point have also touted the way they have laid thou­sands of miles of glass fi­ber, which can carry far more information than copper telephone wires or cable’s coaxial cables, as backbones and connec­tions to their overall net­works.

David Brooks can be reached at 594-6531 or dbrooks@nashua and on Twitter @ GraniteGeek.