When service packages grow more complex and start to include multiple levels of Cable TV and Internet Service, sorting out upgrade options can grow challenging. Some providers offer general package levels (bronze, silver, gold, etc.) but many also include separate upgrade options for each individual service – especially larger companies like Comcast.
Taking a look at two of the common upgrade options that Comcast offers — Comcast Blast and Comcast Preferred — will pinpoint some of the key differences and definitions you need to know when making decisions.
Comcast Blast: More Bandwidth for Your Media Needs
Comcast offers a number of different Internet Service packages that includes Wi-Fi capabilities and access to all the Comcast hotspots — and often including access to particular TV channels. At the lowest tiers are economy packages, which offer extra-slow speeds around 1.5 to 3 Mbps for downstream activity (downloading things) and only 400 to 800 Kbps for upstream (uploading things) activity. Keep in mind, these are the provisioned rates as well, so actual Mbps transfer rates will, in practice, be much lower. Such economy plans are nice for grandmas who just want to check their email, but rarely suitable for others.
Move up to Performance Internet tiers, and you reach the average speeds for Internet use. Depending on location and available packages, the Performance package offers between 20 and 25 Mbps for downstream and 4 to 5 Mbps for upstream. Comcast’s Internet Plus package offers this speed, plus your local TV channels and potential access to extras, like HBO.
This brings us to Comcast Blast. Blast (or Blast! With an exclamation point) is the next tier of service, beyond the average package. Pay around $10 extra a month, and you receive a significant boost in speed, jump up to 50 Mbps downstream and 20 to 25 Mbps upstream. This makes the Burst upgrade especially suitable if your Internet is experiencing slowdowns when smartphone use, online gaming, and Netflix-viewing happen all at once in your house.
In addition to the twice-as-fast speeds, you also get online access to a lot more TV channels, including Disney, Discovery, CNN, A&E and others, in addition to the local networks like ABC, CBS, FOX, etc. With such a complete package, you may not need to add other Cable channels at all, depending on your viewing habits. There is even another level above Blast, known as Extreme, for even higher Internet speeds.
Comcast Preferred: The Channel Lineup
Comcast Preferred is on the TV-oriented of your package. This option will NOT increase your Internet speed, if you move from a Starter cable package to an upgraded Preferred package. What it will do is add more channels to your lineup for a price increase of around $10, significantly more than the Blast package will offer. Move from a digital Starter package to a digital Preferred package, for example, will increase channels from 80-plus to 160-plus, offering plenty of additional channels for sports and movies. There are also HD Preferred packages that offer a similar increase, but also switch to HD channels when applicable.
Making a Choice
When purchased as part of a Cable TV and Internet package, moving from Starter to a Preferred package will not increase your Internet speeds (which stay around 25 Mbps for downloads), but it will double the amount of channels you get and improve their quality. When purchasing a Burst package, it will increase your Internet speeds and give you some extra channels in addition to your scant local options, around 45 in all. Neither affects your Home Phone options.
From here it gets easier to make a few generalizations. The Blast package is ideal for families that are active on the Internet, or people who depend primarily on streaming and Internet services for entertainment and do not turn on the TV as often. The Preferred packages are best suited for those happy with their current Internet levels, but who want access to more specialized channels that they do not get at the moment, especially those extra sports and movie channels that would otherwise be inaccessible.
However, keep in mind that at any particular time, Comcast may offer bonuses for moving up to a new package, including gift cards, free subscriptions, and free trials of a variety of services. Take these extras into account when making a choice, whether you choose Comcast Blast or not.