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Internet speed battle heats up

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Comcast, the Bay Area's dominant cable provider, said Tuesday that it will upgrade customers to a faster broadband Internet connection this summer -- up to 6 megabits a second for most subscribers.

The free, automatic upgrade applies to residential customers who also subscribe to Comcast's standard cable TV packages. For an additional $10 a month, customers can get Internet connection speeds of 8 megabits a second.

The higher speeds will be rolled out initially in the eastern United States later this month and reach Bay Area customers as early as next month.

The announcement is the latest move in a broadband battle that has big phone companies sharply cutting prices on their DSL services and cable providers marketing cable broadband service as a faster premium offering compared with DSL.

"This will be very noticeable to customers who are actively engaged in hours of online activity."

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