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Comcast is boosting internet speeds, but not for cord-cutters

The company says customers will see an increase in download speeds, but the perk is reserved only for those who pay for both internet and cable.

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Getting faster, but not for everyone.

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Comcast customers will be able to take advantage of new speed increases in Xfinity internet service packages, but reportedly there's a catch: They'll have to pay for both internet and TV service.

Comcast said last week that it would be increasing the speeds of its Xfinity Internet service packages for millions of customers in Houston and the Oregon and southwest Washington areas. It said their download speeds would increase by 30 percent to 40 percent.

But only customers who bundle internet with cable TV and other services, and who have the company's latest X1 hardware, will have access to free speed increases, the Houston Chronicle reported on Tuesday.

Eligible customers will see some significant changes, though. Those with 60Mbps Internet download speeds will now experience 150Mbps; customers who currently have 150Mbps will have 250Mbps; and 250Mbps subscribers are being upgraded to either 400Mbps or 1Gbps, depending on the package.

In a statement, Comcast said it boosted speeds by at least 50Mbps earlier this year for both internet-only customers and customers in packages in more than two dozen states. It says it's now testing different multi-product packages in a few different markets by changing the internet tiers for various packages.

The company emphasized that customers have the option to purchase one of the new packages, or to buy a standalone speed tier.

"All of our internet tiers can be purchased as a stand-alone service by any Xfinity customer," a Comcast spokesman said. "75 percent of our customers now have speeds of 100Mbps or higher and Gigabit service is now available to more than 90 percent of our service area, including Internet-only customers."  

More people are ditching cable and satellite TV as streaming takes over. In January, Comcast said it lost 33,000 traditional pay-TV subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2017 but gained 350,000 high-speed internet customers. Moves like this one could help combat the loss of customers.

First published May 1, 1:37 p.m. PT.
Update, May 1 at 11:25 a.m.: Adds comment from Comcast, clarifies details surrounding the speed increase.