updated 10/22/2008 3:59:09 PM ET 2008-10-22T19:59:09

Comcast on Wednesday said it will begin rolling out faster Internet speeds over the next few weeks in selected markets to homes and businesses.

The nation's largest cable operator and residential Internet service provider will offer speeds up to 50 Megabits per second, which enables users to download a high-definition movie in 16 minutes and a standard definition movie in 5 minutes.

Most Comcast customers will double their speeds for free.

The service will be available in parts of New England, including the Boston area and southern New Hampshire, as well as in portions of Philadelphia, New Jersey and the Twin Cities in Minnesota. Over the next few months, Comcast expects to roll it out to over 10 major markets.

For residential users, Comcast's new 'Extreme 50' tier, including up to 10 Mbps upstream service, will cost $139.95 a month. For businesses, it will cost $189.95 monthly, including extra features and support.

The 'Ultra' plan for individuals will offer speeds up to 22 Mbps for downloading and up to 5 upstream for $62.95 a month. The business "premium" tier will offer the same speeds for $99.95 a month.

To get the new Internet plans, individuals must also subscribe to Comcast's cable TV service.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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