The quick and dirty on XFINITY internet
There’s no question XFINITY deserves some flack for its customer service, but believe it or not, XFINITY does actually deliver faster-than-most internet speeds. In fact, when compared to other large internet service providers (ISPs) such as Cox or Time Warner Cable, XFINITY deals in faster download and upload speeds and is more widely available. XFINITY just might be the go-to internet for most people—but be sure to practice deep breathing and think happy thoughts before making a phone call.
Comcast XFINITY prices and plans
Prices are all over the place, but at least you can choose if you want a contract or not.
We’ve listed XFINITY’s advertised prices for internet service, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to pricing. For starters, the advertised price is not the regular price, and pricing varies by location. Don’t worry though, we’ve already done the detective work.
|Plan||Advertised price*||Download speed||Learn more|
|Performance Starter||$19.99/mo.||10 Mbps||View Plan|
|Performance 25||$39.99/mo.||25 Mbps||View Plan|
|Performance Pro||$49.99/mo.||100 Mbps||View Plan|
|Blast! Pro||$59.99/mo.||200 Mbps||View Plan|
*Pricing varies by location.
Comcast pricing and contract options
The biggest factors in XFINITY pricing are location and whether you choose to enter into a contract or not.
If you live in the West region, you can land XFINITY’s Performance Starter plan for a sweet $19.99 per month. If you live in the Northeast, you’ll probably pay more than double the price for the same plan. It stinks, but there’s nothing to be done about it. You live where you live, and we’re sure there are reasons (good or not) for the price difference.
If you want to save money, you can consider entering a contract. We found that if you enter into a 12-month XFINITY contract, you can shave off around $10 a month. If you’re not going anywhere for 12 months, why not save $120 (12 months x $10)? We like no-contract service, but we like money more. It’s up to you to decide what to do, but if we’re sticking around, we’re going to go with the cheaper option.
Also, don’t forget to set a reminder to renegotiate your bill when the promotional price ends(we put it on the calendar!). It doesn’t matter if it’s contract or no-contract—the price will go up, and if you don’t call, you’ll have a not-so-nice surprise when you see your credit card or bank statement.
If you decide to take advantage of any specials or combine TV and internet service, you can probably save even more money, but be sure to double-check the fine print. We don’t like surprises, and if something sounds too good to be true, well, it probably is.
If you’re not sharing your internet service with anyone and you don’t do much more than keep up with shows on Hulu, then the Performance Starter plan may be the one for you. The plan costs as little as $20 per month, and download speed is around 10 Mbps. That’s not much speed, but it’s enough if you care more about saving money than waiting around for an iTunes rental to finish downloading. Again, we recommend this plan for the money-minded, patient person, and not for someone who wants to blaze through the internet.
The “it’s just me and I care more about money than speed” plan
|Performance Starter||$19.99/mo.||10 Mbps||View Plan|
If you don’t want to bother with waiting, we say go with the goofily named Blast! Pro plan. It’s three times the price of the Performance Starter plan at $59.99 per month, but it boasts twenty times the speed (200 Mbps). That means the next time you download a movie, it will be ready to watch before the popcorn is done popping. If you share internet with roommates, family, etc., we doubt you’ll run into any problems. The Blast! Pro should be more than enough for everyone in your domicile to watch what they want on whatever device they choose.
The “I never want to see a buffering icon again” plan
|Blast Pro!||$59.99/mo.||200 Mbps||View Plan|
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To watch online streaming video (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, etc.), we recommend a speed of at least 10 Mbps. (You can read up on the Best Internet for Streaming for more info.)
Location, location, location
We mentioned how location can affect pricing, but there’s more that might change based on where you live. For example, we recommended the Blast! Pro plan, but some areas don’t offer it (we recommend the Blast! plan if you can’t get the Blast! Pro). It’s ridiculous that plans and prices change depending on location, but it is what it is. Even installation fees can vary, but we’ll cover more of that next.
Comcast XFINITY service fees
XFINITY fees somehow manage to be both confusing and bothersome, much like they are with every ISP. Here are some fees to watch out for.
- Installation: The installation fee depends on the plan you choose and where you live, but we think it’s something that can be negotiated. We say try and get the price lowered as much as possible. You could even mention a competitor’s free installation, as long as there is such a thing.
- One-time fees: Watch out for one-time fees like activation fees, pro-install fees, and more. You don’t pay for these fees when you order your service, but they appear on your first monthly bill. Make sure you understand what one-time fees you’re subject to before you order. As always, we recommend negotiating lower fees for these one-time charges.
- Early termination fee: There’s a 30-day period to cancel after signing up for a 12-month plan, but after that you can expect a serious termination fee if you cancel early. Comcast doesn’t list an exact fee, but you pay the no-contract rate for the existing months of the service contract (yikes!).
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Don’t waste your money renting a modem from XFINITY. Get your own.
XFINITY is more than happy to rent you a cable modem, but it will cost you an extra $10 per month. Most of XFINITY’s modems include a router, so you won’t need to worry about connecting to Wi-Fi. However, considering you can get a good-to-excellent modem/router for close to $100, we think it’s worth forking out the cash and buying a modem/router outright. It will pay for itself in 10 months, and it’s hands down the easiest way to save money on your internet bill.
Be sure to check with XFINITY that the modem you want is compatible with the internet plan you’re getting. You can check online, but we recommend calling and speaking with a representative as well. Customer service can be pretty difficult to deal with, but if you just have questions about modem compatibility, it shouldn’t be a long phone call.
Comcast XFINITY speed and data
We hear so much about how terrible Comcast’s customer service is that we thought it might be because of internet speed, but as it turns out, the majority of people get the speed they pay for. At least, that’s what the research says.
XFINITY’s actual speed vs. advertised speed
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) determined that the majority of XFINITY customers get the speeds they paid for, and that’s actually a big deal for an ISP. To be specific, 80% of XFINITY customers get 99% actual-to-advertised download speeds—in other words, you pay for 10 Mbps, you get 9.99 MBps.1 That may seem like backhanded compliment, but consider this: CenturyLink delivers only 45% of actual-to-advertised download speeds.2 That’s half the percentage of Comcast’s XFINITY service.
It’s crazy to think there’s such a difference in actual speed between ISPs. To be fair, though, we’re talking about the majority of customers. No matter the ISP, there are going to be customers who don’t get the internet speeds they deserve (just take a look at our comments section). Still, we can’t argue with hard data, and the FCC’s research involves tens of thousands of internet users.
What’s XFINITY’s data limit?
Almost every XFINITY plan has a 1 TB (1,000 GB) data limit. We find it kind of hilarious that XFINITY has made a lot of effort to communicate that 1 TB is “an enormous amount of data,”3 going so far as to say that 1 TB is enough to stream “between 600 and 700 hours of HD video in a month,” and “enough [data] to power 12,000 hours of online gaming.”4 We get it—a terabyte is HUGE. We’d rather have no data limit, but XFINITY doesn’t think it’s a big deal because “99% of its customers” don’t even use that much data.5
We hate to admit it, but for most people, 1 TB is more data than you need in a month. But the data limit will interest those who have binge-watching families or share bandwidth with data-hungry roommates—like that one roommate rewatching every season of Game of Thrones before the season seven premiere.
If you do somehow manage to exceed the 1 TB limit, you can expect to pay $10 for each additional 50 GB. However, you do get two get-out-of-jail free cards for the first two months you go over. If you’re a serious internet hound, you could always go with the Unlimited Data Option, but it will cost you an additional $50 per month (based on the calendar month, not the 30-day billing cycle). Still, it’s nice to know such an option exists.
Comcast XFINITY customer service
XFINITY’s supposedly no longer the worst in customer service, but it’s still bad. We checked the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) and found that “Comcast no longer occupies the bottom” for customer satisfaction for ISPs,6 since XFINITY scored a 59 on a 100-point scale for 2016 (up from 56 in 2015). Compared to other ISPs, it tied for third to last—Windstream (59), Mediacom (57), and Frontier Communications (56) filled out the bottom. The industry average for ISPs is 64 out of 100, so the bar is set very, very low—and XFINITY is below that. At least it’s not the absolute worst.
How to handle XFINITY customer service
When we contacted Comcast support, we didn’t get much help—representatives talked past us and constantly tried to upsell us. However, we remained cool and calm, remembering that the individual on the other side of the phone is a human being, even if they are speaking on behalf of a cold-blooded corporate entity. Knowing it’s going to be bad helps, but there are plenty of things you can do to deal with XFINITY service besides lowering your expectations.
We recommend snagging your headphones and finding a comfortable chair, so you can handle the long holds and multiple transfers that come with terrible customer service. We’ll usually put on a movie or show and grab a beverage and snack before we make the phone call. You’ll need something—anything—to comfort you while you call, or else you may risk losing your sanity.
If you’re a new customer, the XFINITY representative will likely be much more helpful (they are trying to make a sale, after all). Just make sure you cover any one-time fees, deals, and terms of the service. It never hurts to ask the same question twice and get the details of the contract emailed to you. If you happen to need help with existing service, prepare for a much longer phone call.
In general, it helps to be laid back when calling customer service, and we highly recommend the same kind of approach for the installation process.
Take an installation holiday
If the Comcast representative says it only takes an hour or two, it will take all day. If the installer says they will be done before noon, it will take all day. Recognize the pattern? Installation will take all day.
We say take the day off of work and get to that home project that’s been nagging you for months, or pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read, or finally ask to borrow your friend’s DVDs (or Blu-rays) of The Wire and binge-watch it. The installation doesn’t require anything of you except for you to be there. Figuring out how to relish the day off from work is basically making lemonade out of installation lemons, and hey, you deserve a holiday, and also you really need to re-caulk your bathroom.
XFINITY is “not-bad” internet, despite its terrible service
XFINITY is the most widely available cable internet, and it delivers the speeds it advertises. It’s internet service that does what it should—lets us watch How I Met Your Mother* without interruption—even though we’d like to ask more of its customer service.
We’ve already provided some advice on dealing with the installation process, but remember that XFINITY representatives aren’t the best at explaining the ins and outs of its service. Be sure to ask plenty of questions, and if you can, double-check the details of any specials, discount pricing, etc.
*We just started—don’t spoil the end.
FAQs About Comcast XFINITY
Q: What modem does XFINITY use?
It depends on the plan, but XFINITY is promoting its Wireless Gateway modem. There are various models of the Wireless Gateway, but all the information you’ll need on XFINITY’s modems can be found on this support page.
Q: What router should I use with XFINITY?
One of the highest recommended routers around is TP-Link’s AC1750. If you’re looking for a modem and Wi-Fi router combination, we suggest the ARRIS SURFboard. If you don’t need a router or already have one, you can go sans router with the cable modem. We always recommend double-checking compatibility with a Comcast representative just to be sure.
If you’re already an XFINITY customer, you can check compatible equipment here.
Q: How can I check my speed with XFINITY?
M-Lab’s speed test will tell you your download and upload speeds and latency. (We linked to HighSpeedInternet.com’s speed test page that’s powered by the M-Lab tool.)
Q: Are Comcast and XFINITY the same thing?
Essentially, yes. The two names are often used interchangeably, but XFINITY is specific to Comcast’s TV/Internet/Voice services, whereas Comcast can refer to the global conglomerate, Comcast Corporation.
Q: Which Comcast plan is best for gaming?
Go with the Blast! Pro or Blast! Either plan should offer plenty of speed to get your game on.
Q: Can I bundle my internet plan with TV?
Yes. There are quite a few ways to get internet and TV together with XFINITY. We recommend the Preferred XF Double Play, despite the convoluted name.
1. Federal Communications Commission, Measuring Broadband in America Report
2. Federal Communications Commission, Measuring Broadband in America Report
3. XFINITY, Data Usage Center
4. XFINITY, Data Usage Center
5. XFINITY, Data Usage Center
6. American Customer Satisfaction Index, About ACSI
Have questions? Ask us.
Do you have questions about XFINITY’s internet service that we didn’t answer? Check out our FAQs or ask your own question in the comments below.
Have a complaint? Make it count and tell the FCC.
If you want to help an ISP improve its service, tell the FCC. The FCC’s Consumer Complaint Center is the best place to let your voice be heard.