I want to weed out lousy internet plans. To help you determine whether this is a low-quality internet plan, I’ve compiled information from around the web to help.
The points that I’ll cover throughout this piece include:
- What’s Performance Starter/Connect?
- Who’s it best for?
- What can you do with 50 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload speeds?
- Where is Performance Starter/Connect available?
- Performance Starter/Connect costs
- Data cap
- How Performance Starter/Connect compares to other Xfinity
- How Performance Starter/Connect internet compares to competitors
Read on and learn whether this plan’s worth the money.
What Is Comcast Xfinity Performance Starter/Connect Internet?
Performance Starter (Connect) is Xfinity’s lowest price internet package. It’ll give you 50 Mbps (download) while also providing 10 Mbps (upload).
Before you ask yourself, “why did he type Performance Starter/Connect like that” let me preemptively answer your question.
They’re both the same plan. Just with different names for Xfinity’s various regions.
They label Western, and Central 50 Mbps (download) plans as Connect. And for the Northeastern United States, it’s Performance Starter.
Who’s Comcast Xfinity Performance Starter/Connect Best For?
I only recommend this plan to the following people:
- If you can’t qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)
- Don’t mind locking yourself into a contract for a year or two
- You are single and don’t use much bandwidth
I’m going to break down each point.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) created a benefits program known as the ACP. This program makes it so that more people can access the internet.
They’ve teamed up with internet service providers to give huge discounts on internet services to give people these benefits.
Comcast Xfinity named its ACP program Internet Essentials. You get 50/10 (download/upload) speeds for $25 a month. And you don’t have to worry about a price increase after an expiring contract.
You’ll need to meet ONE of the many qualifications the government requires. For instance, participate in government programs like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Here’s a list of qualifiers you can check out.
I mentioned locking yourself into a contract. You won’t pay much for the first couple of years, but once that time passes, you’ll spend A LOT for the speeds you’re getting.
I recommend looking into Xfinity Prepaid. It’s $45 every 30 days for 50/10 (download/upload). A better plan if you’re a renter, and need more upload speed. But you can’t use your own modem or router.
However, Xfinity won’t charge you an equipment rental fee.
And my last point. For those of you who solo life. Regarding download speed, you can game casually online, video conference with family, classmates, or coworkers, or perform other basic online tasks.
But when it comes to upload speed.
10 Mbps won’t get you far. If you plan on streaming while running other devices that require uploading, you will have many issues. Having a stable stream requires over 9 Mbps upload speeds.
4K cloud gaming or video playback. Forget about it.
These upload speeds aren’t enough for anyone to handle. If you’re tight on cash yet want an optimal online experience, I can only recommend shuffling your budget a bit to pay for a higher plan.
What Can You Do With 50 Mbps Download & 10 Mbps Upload Speeds?
|Task||Download Speed (Mbps)||Upload Speed (Mbps)|
|Casual Gaming (PC)||3||0.5|
|High-definition Audio Streaming (Lossless)||2||0.5|
|*Live Streaming on Twitch||720p 60 FPS: 4.5||Video: 2.5–4|
|Online Gaming While Streaming||24.5||9.24 (with speed buffer)|
|Watching Netflix||Standard Definition: 1|
1080p HD: 5
4K Ultra HD: 25
|Zoom Video Conferences||Group calling 1080p: 3.8|
1:1 calling 1080p: 3.8
|Group calling 1080p: 3.8|
1:1 calling 1080p: 3.8
|**4G Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP)||1 concurrent call: 5||1 concurrent call: 5|
* You’ll want a 35–40% speed buffer in case speed fluctuations happen during your stream.
** These speeds remain the same until you reach 50 concurrent calls. Then you’ll need 20 Mbps upload and download speeds.
Watching Movies or Series on Netflix (Or Similar Platforms)
With 50 Mbps, you could SAFELY watch a 4K movie on a single device. Or 1080p media on at least seven devices. With standard definition (720p), you could have over ten devices simultaneously watching series or movies.
If you don’t have other background tasks running. For instance, if your phone automatically updates firmware and apps, that will take a chunk out of your bandwidth.
In this example, let’s say your phone wants to update Diablo Immortal in the background while using the same device to watch Stranger Things on Netflix. That automatic update and bandwidth use could lead to video buffering.
Something for you to consider.
Online Gaming (Competitive and Casual), Cloud Gaming, and Live Streaming
You can game casually online just fine with a couple of devices. I wouldn’t try anything competitive, though. According to a ‘Major League gamer,’ you need 10 Mbps upload speeds.
I put the source for this claim with the above chart.
I don’t know whether that’s true. Because with my understanding, the measurement that matters is ping (distance between you and the host server). But it’s something to consider if you want to jump into a competitive Overwatch match.
I’d also remain skeptical about cloud gaming. Out of all of the cloud gaming platforms I researched, PlayStation Now had the lowest requirements (5 Mbps) . In contrast, Amazon Luna required 10 Mbps .
I’ve read multiple complaints of low upload speeds resulting in games crashing. In my experience, the best way to find out whether you can use these platforms is to get a free trial (if one’s available).
You shouldn’t try to live stream on Twitch or YouTube with this plan. For a reliable stream, you’ll need AT LEAST 5.6 Mbps (upload).
Video Calls and Communication
If a couple of people in your home need to attend Zoom group meetings simultaneously, you won’t have any issues. Since both group chat and one-on-one sessions require 3.8 Mbps (download and upload).
With one device, you could have one person attending an online class. While with another, they could chat with a client.
Work From Home
I wouldn’t recommend this speed for remote workers who multitask. Let’s use a graphic designer in this example. They’ll likely have these tasks running in the background:
- Adobe Creative Cloud
- Background noise
- Multiple tabs for design references
- Instant messenger software
Then add file uploading or downloading into the mix. 50/10 (download/upload) will make sending or receiving large files take a while. And if you’re short on time, such a long download time could negatively impact a project’s timeline.
Where Is Comcast Xfinity Performance Starter/Connect Available?
Xfinity only offers Performance Starter to areas in the Northeastern part of the United States. It offers Connect to everywhere else it supports. In total, Xfinity provides internet services to around 40 states.
But they don’t specify what cities have access to each plan.
I wouldn’t try to Google whether they support “X” plan in your city because you’ll find mixed results. The only way you’ll get an accurate answer is to use their search tool.
Type in your address, and you SHOULD see search results. You can narrow the results to Connect or Performance Starter by selecting ‘50 Mbps’ in the filter.
If they provide this plan in your area, you can find all the pricing information you need, what features the plan includes, and more.
How Much Does Comcast Xfinity Performance Starter/Connect Cost?
When signing a term agreement with Comcast Xfinity, you’ll pay $20–30 per month for the first 12, 24, or 36 months. Once your term ends, you’ll need to pay between $49 and $49 monthly for Performance Starter or Connect.
That’s up to an 86% increase in your price.
As mentioned, whether you get Performance Starter or Connect depends on your region. Each plan’s cost will vary as well.
Other fees you can expect to pay with Connect (or Performance Starter) include:
- Data overage charge: $10 per 50 GB block of data they add to your account ($100 max)
- Equipment rental: $14 per month
- Unlimited Data (optional): $30 per month
- xFi Complete (modem/router combo): $25 a month, optional, and it gives you unlimited data
- Professional installation (optional): $89.99; you can install your modem yourself and save yourself the installation fee
- Late bill payment fee: $10 after a two-week grace period
- *Early Termination Fee (12-month agreement): $110; price lowers by $10 per month until the contract ends
- *Cancellation fee (24-month agreement): $230; they’ll lower the fee by $10 each month until your 24-month contract ends
* These fees will differ by customer. I pulled these numbers from an employee on Xfinity’s forum .
You can also bundle a plan with other Xfinity services like mobile, voice, or TV. Depending on the number of services you bundle and your location, you can save a bit of money.
But that’ll make it hard to break away from Xfinity in the future.
Plan on sticking with Xfinity for a long time? Buy a separate modem and router. $14 a month adds up.
In a year, you’ll pay $168 (excluding taxes). You could buy an excellent budget router and modem for that price. You’ll also save money if you need to replace your Xfinity equipment rental.
Comcast Xfinity Performance Starter/Connect Features
When subscribing to Connect or Performance Starter, you’ll get the following for free:
- Free Voice Remote (optional): control your TV with your voice
- Flex 4K streaming TV box: it’s like a Roku or Apple TV
- Getting started kit: includes Xfinity modem/router combo and any wires you’ll need
- Xfinity Wi-Fi: access to all of Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots for free (doesn’t contribute to data cap)
- Constant Guard: Xfinity’s anti-malware suite that replaced the free Norton’s Suite they used to give customers
- Cloud services: 7 email addresses and 10 GB of Cloud Storage
- 30-day money-back guarantee
They used to give Peacock Premium (streaming service) away to Xfinity internet and TV customers. But they apparently stripped us of that luxury recently . Now we have to pay $4.99 per month.
The whole fiasco about Peacock Premium isn’t OFFICIAL. I don’t know how reputable the source I found was. But it’s something to keep in mind.
I recommend using the Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots whenever possible. Since using them doesn’t contribute to your data cap, you get unlimited free data. This only works in your favor if you live beside one.
Look for the network names ‘Xfinity’ or ‘xfinitywifi’. Xfinity claims they’re secure, but I’d still be careful about what activities you do when on these hotspots.
There’s one issue. Comcast Xfinity doesn’t tell us how fast these hotspots are. So I’d imagine their speeds will vary.
Comcast Xfinity Performance Starter/Connect Contract
Depending on your region, you can enter a 12, 24, or 36-month term agreement with Xfinity for the Performance Starter or Connect plans. Most of the time, you can choose whether you want to enter these contracts.
I recommend doing so. In my experience, shackling myself to Xfinity for 12 months saved me a lot of money on my internet bill.
If you’re a temporary resident (student or renter), you may want to consider Xfinity Prepaid. You’ll pay $45 monthly for the same speed, but don’t worry about binding yourself to a contract.
If you go with a contract plan and decide you want to escape, Xfinity makes it difficult. In the ‘Cost’ section, I mentioned the fee for the 12- and 24- month cancellations. But not the 36-month.
I couldn’t find that answer. I’m GUESSING it’s $360.
There are several ways to protect yourself from the harsh fees of canceling your contract early. You can get an Early Termination Fee (ETF) credit in these scenarios:
- You’re an active-duty service person who’s relocating
- A natural disaster hit your area, so now you have to cancel
- The primary account holder passed away
- If you restart your Xfinity subscription 90 days after canceling your service
These exceptions may change. Contact Xfinity Assistant (live chat) or call them at (800) 934-6489. Ensure you call between Monday and Saturday (7 am to 9 pm) EST.
When talking to them, calmly tell them about your situation. They may make exceptions under particular circumstances.
Comcast Xfinity Performance Starter/Connect Internet Data Cap
Xfinity Connect and Performance Start has a 1.2 terabyte (TB) data cap. In the first month of bypassing this cap (as a new customer), Xfinity won’t charge you. After month two, they’ll charge you $10 per 50 GB of data they add to your account.
They can only charge you $100 max for data overages. Meanwhile, you can use as much data as you want.
Don’t worry about the data cap, though. With these slow speeds, you’ll likely never pass it. But if you want to avoid these fees, let’s cover a couple of options.
xFi Complete. It’s a modem/router combination that will cost you an additional $25 per month. You’ll also receive an updated gateway a few years after owning this one.
Cool. I suppose.
Renting equipment comes with various downfalls, though. It’s more expensive to replace and adds more stress to your life. So if you want to use your own modem and router with unlimited data, you just need to give Xfinity an extra $30 monthly.
Then they’ll add unlimited data to your account.
Before considering either option, browse this table:
|*Surfing the Web||2,000+|
|1080p Video Streaming||350|
|4G Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP)||60+|
This table shows what you can do with 1.2 TB of data.
* They say you’d only use 15 MB per hour. What people do on the internet varies. So take this number with a grain of salt.
With 50 Mbps download speeds, you likely won’t do anything online that’ll exceed your data cap. If you’re worried anyway, you can log into your Xfinity account and keep track of your data usage.
How Performance Starter/Connect Compares To Other Xfinity Plans
Consider your bandwidth needs and budgets. Before committing, check out other Comcast Xfinity internet plans and see if they’re a better deal:
|Plan||Price*||Download Speed||Upload Speed|
|Connect/Performance Starter||$20-$40/mo||50 Mbps||10 Mbps|
|Connect More/Performance Pro||$40-$60/mo.||100 Mbps||10 Mbps|
|Fast/Performance Pro||$50-$60/mo.||300 Mbps||10 Mbps|
|Superfast/Blast Pro!||$65-$70/mo.||600 Mbps||20 Mbps|
|Extreme Pro/Ultrafast||$70-$80/mo.||900 Mbps||20 Mbps|
|Gigabit||$80-$110/mo.||1200 Mbps||35 Mbps|
|Gigabit Pro||$299.95/mo.||6000 Mbps||6000 Mbps|
These prices include the $10 paperless billing and auto pay feature discounts. This discount won’t appear on your account until 30–45 days after activating your service. These prices also don’t include state and local taxes.
Or equipment rental fees.
There’s not much to say in this section. You’ll want this plan to save the most money and don’t have high internet speed requirements.
How Performance Starter/Connect Internet Compares to Competitors
How does Connect and Performance Starter fare against competing ISP’s with similar speeds? See for yourself:
|Provider and Plan||Download Speeds (Mbps)||Upload Speeds (Mbps)||*Price (New Customer)||Data Cap (TB)|
|AT&T (Internet 50)||50||10||$55||1|
|CenturyLink (40 Mbps)||40||5||$50||NA|
* These prices include special discounts like ones you’d get for enabling automatic payment and paperless billing features. They don’t include taxes. These will vary by your state’s and local taxes.
Ziply Fiber seems like the apparent winner in this chart. But it’s only available in the Northwest.
With AT&T, you have a smaller data cap while paying more for the introductory price. And CenturyLink has lower overall speeds.
Xfinity fares well against its competitors in the 50 Mbps category. And if you can get on the Internet Essentials plan, you’ll save even more money.
Xfinity Performance Starter (or Connect) internet plan is ideal for 4 light users who perform tasks not requiring much upload speed.
Before using this plan, you’ll want to check whether you’re eligible for Internet Essentials. Because if you are, you can get the same download speeds while saving a lot of money on your internet bill.