Comcast makes Xfinity Flex free for its broadband-only subscribers

When Comcast earlier this year launched its new Xfinity Flex product, it carried a $5-per-month cost for broadband-only subscribers. Now the company is giving it away for free.

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts today said that his company’s broadband-only subscribers will now get the product, which includes a set-top box and a voice remote, without having to pay a monthly fee. But customers will still have to pay $5 per month if want another Xfinity Flex box, which will be limited to two per customer.

Flex offers access to subscription services like HBO, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and Epix. Flex users can sign up for these services on the platform or access existing subscriptions. Flex also offers access to free, ad-supported channels, allows customers to upgrade to Comcast video packages and functions as a control center for connected home devices.

RELATED: Deeper Dive—Is Comcast’s Xfinity Flex worth $5 per month?

Back when Flex first launched, Matt Strauss, executive vice president of Xfinity Services at Comcast, did his best to explain the thought process behind charging a monthly fee when consumers can get roughly the same thing by plunking down a one-time $40 on a Roku.

“We’ve done quite a bit of research on that and what we’ve found is, there’s certainly a segment of the customers we’re targeting who want to purchase the device and own it,” said Strauss. “But there was an almost equal segment that was open to leasing the device.”

Roberts today gave a lengthy demonstration of the features and functions within Flex, prefacing the demo by saying that “not many people have seen” what the product can do. Today’s price removal for Flex suggests that Comcast’s broadband-only subscribers have been slow to pick up the product at its previous $5 price point.

But making Flex free for Comcast broadband-only subscribers could also be a part of the distribution strategy for NBCUniversal’s upcoming streaming service, Peacock, which is launching in April 2020. The service is expected to be available as a free, ad-supported service for Comcast and Sky pay TV subscribers.