By DAVID FARRENBERG | USA TODAY The biggest Internet providers are cutting speeds to many consumers in major cities as they grapple with the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
Comcast is offering gigabit speeds for $50 a month for people who subscribe to its cable, satellite or phone service.
That’s up from $40 a month earlier.
Verizon Wireless, which sells a similar package, is offering speeds of $80 for people with its phone service and $50 for Internet service.
T-Mobile, which also sells a gigabit service, is also offering $70 a month.
AT&T and Verizon have both offered speeds of up to 1 gigabit.
But the Internet is being slowed down for many in places like Houston, Boston, Phoenix, Chicago, San Francisco and other places where there are significant numbers of homes and businesses.
A handful of cities and states are cutting the speed of Internet access to a few dozen households, including some with 1,000 residents.
The Internet providers aren’t disclosing what speed is being cut, or why, but they’re blaming Hurricane Sandy and other factors.
Many of the affected homes and small businesses are still dealing with the loss of power, gas, water and other utilities, said Bob McBride, a spokesman for the Texas Public Utility Commission.
The Texas Public Utilities Commission says it hasn’t yet made any decisions about cutting the service.
It is too early to say what effect the cuts will have on the economy, but it may be less than a year before the Internet companies start to make significant revenue, McBride said.
The Internet providers say they’re also trying to keep the Internet at a reasonable speed in a time of extreme storm conditions.
But they also are looking at other ways to help their customers, such as offering more Internet-like services.
AT &T says it’s providing gigabit internet access for $35 a month, with additional plans to be offered through its wireless services.
Verizon has lowered the price to $35.
Composite telecom companies are also trying a new approach to help people who have Internet access with other services.
They’re providing faster speeds in certain areas.
The company said Thursday it will offer faster speeds to its 1 million customers, starting in Texas.
Computers are also getting a boost from the increased speed, with AT&Ts said its 5G wireless service will offer speeds of 100 megabits per second in Houston and 100 megabytes per second (MBps) in Chicago.
AT, which is offering the wireless service, said its customers will get 5G service in Atlanta, Chicago and Atlanta.
Trey Parker-Waldau, an analyst with market research firm Technomic, said he believes the increased speeds will also help consumers.
“I think the speed boost will allow people to get faster Internet access and be able to use their mobile devices more, whether it’s streaming content, surfing the web or gaming,” he said.
Titan Networks, which owns the cable networks DirecTV, Dish Network and T-Mobile USA, said it will upgrade to 5G and offer speeds up to 300 MBps in Austin, Dallas, Houston and New York City.