By Ian Bush
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Comcast is now testing for Internet what wireless companies have found much success with cell service — a prepaid option.
Instead of being under contract and submitting to a credit check, Xfinity Internet Prepaid Service gives you a week of surfing for $15, or a month for $45.
“Some targets might be consumers who might have no bank account, maybe have bad credit, are a credit risk, or they’re customers who used to get services from Comcast and maybe they got turned off for non-payment,” says Jeff Baumgartner, editor of the telecom industry news site LightReading.com.
He says the connection speed dips a bit from the subscription model (3Mbit/sec downstream vs. 6Mbit/sec in Comcast’s Performance Starter service). Still, he says, ”It might be OK for some video streaming, and it’s going to be great for e-mail and just general web surfing.”
Prepaid customers also buy the modem for $25, but there’s no monthly leasing fee after that.
Such an option might even make sense for a summer shore rental, but this Comcast test is limited in its early days. It’s being marketed in parts of the Delaware Valley in retail stores, in Craigslist ads, and at XfinityPrepaid.com.