The U.S. may be lagging behind in the global race for broadband Internet speeds, but that doesn't mean we can't hear positive signs of development every now and then. Today we hear that Comcast is increasing its Internet bandwidth options for consumers, offering two new high-end tiers with 22Mbps and 50Mbps speeds.

Comcast claims the 50Mbps service will enable users to download a 6 GB HD movie in about 16 minutes, a standard-def movie (2 GB) in about 5 minutes and a standard-def TV show (300 MB) in a matter of seconds - that is, of course, provided the user has not exceeded its 250 GB/month bandwidth limit and his connection has not been slowed down for being an "excessive downloader."

The new service brings Comcast up to speed with rival Verizon, which already offers speeds of up to 50Mbps with its FiOS Internet service for about $140 a month. Comcast's "Extreme 50" plan (50Mbps down, 10Mbps up) will cost $139.95 a month for residential users, whereas the "Ultra 22" (22Mbps down, 5Mbps up) will be available for $62.95 a month. The company will also increase speeds for most existing residential customers at no extra cost.