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Ready to Get Your Gig On? Xfinity's Got Some Good Options

If you're considering superfast internet from Xfinity, here's what you need to know.

David Anders Senior Writer
David Anders is a senior writer for CNET covering broadband providers, smart home devices and security products. Prior to joining CNET, David built his industry expertise writing for the broadband marketplace Allconnect. In his 5 plus years covering broadband, David's work has been referenced by a variety of sources including ArcGIS, DIRECTV and more. David is from and currently resides in the Charlotte area with his wife, son and two cats.
Expertise Broadband providers | Home internet | Security Cameras
David Anders
6 min read
Xfinity logo on a phone
Sarah Tew/CNET

If you live in an Xfinity market such as Atlanta, Denver, Philadelphia, San Francisco, or elsewhere -- it is the nation's largest cable internet provider, after all -- I'm guessing you've heard of its gig and multi-gig services. Xfinity isn't available anywhere in my area, and even I see Xfinity internet commercials promoting its speeds, particularly gigabit speeds, on a near-daily basis.

The commercials are a bit sensational, claiming "unbeatable internet, made to do anything, so you can do anything" on "hundreds of devices." Still, Xfinity's gig and multi-gig services are at least moderately impressive.

Before the recent spike in multi-gig internet plans from providers like AT&T, Frontier and Verizon Fios, Xfinity quietly led the download speed race years ago with a limited-availability, fiber-to-the-home 2-gig plan. That plan eventually became 3Gbps until it was recently upgraded to 6Gbps. Even on the standard single-gig and cable internet front, Xfinity leads the way with download speeds up to 1,200Mbps compared to the 940 or 1,000Mbps available from other gig providers.

Locating local internet providers

Does that make Xfinity's gig or multi-gig plans the best internet for your home? Not necessarily. There are pros and cons to Xfinity's gig plans that could certainly prompt you to check out other, cheaper internet plans from Xfinity or another provider altogether. Here's all you need to know to decide if Xfinity's gig or multi-gig service is right for your home.

What is Xfinity Gig internet?

Simply put, gig internet, from Xfinity or any other ISP, is an internet service that advertises max download speeds at or around 1 gigabit per second, equal to 1,000 megabits per second. Xfinity raises the gig bar a bit by also offering a 1,200Mbps plan, but it isn't a runaway victory for the cable ISP. 

Locating local internet providers

Cable internet doesn't boast the same upload speed potential as a fiber-optic connection. Consequently, the Xfinity Gigabit plan comes with max upload speeds of only 35Mbps, though emerging 10G technology will soon boost those speeds to 200Mbps. Still, you won't get the symmetrical or near-symmetrical upload/download speeds with Xfinity's gig plan versus that of a fiber internet service. Additionally, gig service from Xfinity is pricier than some, and its 6Gbps plan is downright expensive.

Xfinity gigabit plan details

PlanPromo priceStandard priceMax download speeds (Mbps)Max upload speeds (Mbps)Connection type
Ultrafast $75 $90 1,00035Cable
Gigabit Extra $80 $100 1,20035Cable
Gigabit x2 TBDTBD2,000200Cable
Gigabit Pro $300 $300 6,0006,000Fiber

Plan names and pricing may vary by region (Gigabit Extra is "Gigabit Plus" in some locations), but for the most part, expect to pay around $75 for gig service -- factoring in a $10 discount for enrolling in autopay -- plus an added $14 for equipment fees. That price is good for two years, after which the price jumps to $90 with the autopay discount. 

There's no promotional pricing on the Gigabit Pro plan, so you'll be paying $300 per month for service right off the bat, plus up to $500 in installation fees and a higher, unavoidable equipment fee of $25 per month. Gigabit Pro also comes with a two-year contract, so be sure you're prepared to commit to that high monthly price before signing up.

As for the Gigabit x2 plan, it's still fairly new and hasn't hit markets quite yet. If I had to speculate, considering the cost of Xfinity's Gigabit plan and 2-gig plans from other providers, I'd expect the starting price to be in the $100-to-$120 range plus that $14 equipment fee. We'll update this article once more details become available.

Keep an eye on your data use

With great speed comes great responsibility -- if you have a data cap, that is. In the case of Xfinity, you'll have a monthly data cap of 1.2TB with the Gigabit plan and lower speed tiers. No word yet if the data cap will also apply to the new 2-gig plan, but we'll keep you updated.

Either way, that's a lot of data. The average home uses less than half of that, approximately 514GB, according to OpenVault, so you likely won't have anything to worry about. Don't completely overlook your data use each month, though, as going over will add $10 per 50GB block you go over, with a max fee of $100 per month.

The average household might not meet and exceed that 1.2TB limit, but burning through data is much easier to do with gigabit speeds. All that speed and bandwidth make it tempting to stream in HD or 4K on multiple TVs -- that's where the bulk of most people's data usage comes from -- and add an arsenal of data-consuming smart home devices to your network. 

Suppose you'd rather avoid watching your data usage and potentially paying added fees. In that case, you can enroll in unlimited data for an additional $30 per month, or sign up for the Gigabit Pro plan. 

Gigabit Pro comes with unlimited data, so go ahead and download huge video game files and stream in 4K to your heart's content without worrying about how much data you're consuming. Get your money's worth out of that 6,000Mbps connection. 

Are gig speeds necessary?

I love fast internet, but I'll be the first to admit that 6,000Mbps is overkill for the average home. If I were back in college with three roommates who all had their own smart TVs, computers and smart devices (and who split the bills equally with me), I'd probably consider the Gigabit Pro plan for its speed and unlimited data. Otherwise, I'll pass. Depending on the price of the Gigabit x2 plan, I'd likely pass on 2,000Mbps as well.

On the other hand, standard gigabit service has become much more practical. As the number of connected devices in the home has risen in recent years -- the average American household now has approximately 25 connected devices -- along with more data-demanding activities like 4K streaming, faster speeds have become increasingly necessary. The more devices you connect, the slower your average speeds to each device will be, especially when connecting over Wi-Fi. A gigabit connection ensures you've got plenty of speed to go around. 

That said, it's understandable if you deem speeds of 1,000-1,200Mbps faster than your home needs. Xfinity is known for having a wide variety of plan options, including slower and cheaper 75, 200, 400 and 800Mbps speed tiers, so don't feel like you're tied to gig service if you decide to make Xfinity your home internet service provider.

How does Xfinity's gig service compare?

I've mentioned that Xfinity's gig plan is faster (considering download speeds) than other ISPs, but there's more to compare than max download speeds. Here's a look at Xfinity's gigabit plan versus other major gig providers.

Xfinity Gigabit vs. other gig ISPs

ProviderStarting priceMax speeds (Mbps)Data capEquipment fee
Read full review
$751,000 download, 35 upload1.2TB$14
AT&T Fiber
Read full review
$80 940 download, 880 uploadNoneNone
Read full review
$100 940 download, 35 upload1.25TB$13
Read full review
$70 940 download, 880 uploadNoneNone
CenturyLink/Quantum Fiber $65 940 download, 880 uploadNoneNone
Read full review
$80 940 download, 35 uploadNoneNone
Read full review
$90 940 download, 35 uploadNoneModem free; $5 for router
Verizon Fios
Read full review
$90 940 download, 880 uploadNoneNone
Show more (3 items)

As you can see, Xfinity's gig plan is not the cheapest you'll find among leading gig providers. And while Xfinity's download speed potential is a bit faster than others, upload speeds are dramatically slower than the 880Mbps or higher you'd get with a fiber connection. Additionally, most gig providers offer unlimited data and waive the equipment fee (if they have one) with gig service.

All this is to say, though Xfinity's gigabit plan is certainly impressive, you'll want to compare details from other potential providers in your area before signing up. Given the choice of gig service from AT&T Fiber versus Xfinity, for example, I'd likely go with AT&T Fiber even though the max download speeds are slower. It's cheaper when you factor in equipment fees -- and it comes with unlimited data and significantly faster upload speeds.

The final word on Xfinity gig internet service

I can't fault Xfinity for running commercials boasting its fast speeds, but there's more to Xfinity's gigabit and multi-gig services than how fast they are. Xfinity's gig plan is decently priced compared to other providers. Still, the equipment fee and data cap (and potential fees for going over) take away some of the value the plan and its faster max speed offer.

Gigabit Pro is a premium, fiber-to-the-home service, and it's priced as such at $300 per month. Though it's faster than most multi-gig providers and plans (AT&T and Optimum offer a max of 5Gbps, Frontier and Verizon Fios currently tap out at 2Gbps), it's also tough to justify spending a third of a thousand dollars monthly (after taxes and fees) for your broadband connection. 

As for the new Gigabit x2 plan, we'll have to wait and see if the availability, pricing and service terms will be worth the upgrade.