Comcast fires back at CenturyLink, US Internet with 2 Gbps launch in Minneapolis

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Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) is now offering eligible consumers in Minnesota its 2 Gbps broadband service, raising the competitive FTTH stakes against CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) and US Internet in the Twin Cities market.

Similar to earlier rollouts, Gigabit Pro service won't be initially available in every part of the city.

The service provider said in a release last May that it would provide service to about 600,000 of Minneapolis's 1.2 million households.

However, the service comes with a premium price tag. Eligible customers will have to pay $299.95 a month on top of an existing cable TV or phone package, along with an installation fee.

The installation fee will vary based on various factors, such as whether the home is located near a local access point housed on a utility pole, or if Comcast has to dig a trench to run fiber underground into a home.

Comcast told the Star Tribune that it doesn't have any plans to make a big advertising push for the Gigabit Pro service.

Minneapolis has become a hotbed of broadband competition. Comcast will face off with two FTTH providers: CenturyLink, which previously announced plans to bring its 1 Gbps FTTH service and Prism IPTV services to parts of the Twin Cities area, and competitive provider US Internet.  The Minneapolis City Council approved CenturyLink's video franchise agreement in May, giving consumers an alternative to Comcast for video services.

US Internet has raised the ante further with a 10 Gbps service that it offers to part of the city. The service provider also has a 1 Gbps service with plans to roll out 2.5 and 5 Gbps tiers in 2016. All of US Internet's broadband tiers are competitively priced beginning at $65 for 1 Gbps and $399 a month for the 10 Gbps service, while the 2.5 Gbps and the 5 Gbps offering are priced at $99 and $199 a month, respectively. 

But the FTTH service is just one part of Comcast's efforts to enhance its broadband capabilities in Minneapolis. Like its fellow cable operators Cox and Grande Communications, it also launched a 250 Mbps tier to all of the area's customers for $149.95 a month. It also offers 25, 75 and 150 Mbps tiers.

For more:
- the Star Tribune has this article

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