Comcast announced additional steps to help ensure people stay connected to the internet as more schools suspend classes and companies encourage employees to work from home due to the new coronavirus.
“During this extraordinary time, it is vital that as many Americans as possible stay connected to the internet – for education, work and personal health reasons,” said Dave Watson, Comcast chief executive officer. “Our employees also live and work in virtually every community we serve, and we all share the same belief that it’s our company’s responsibility to step up and help out.”
Comcast took steps to implement new policies for 60 days, and other initiatives, including:
• Xfinity Wi-Fi free for everyone: Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country will be available to anyone who needs them for free – including non-Xfinity internet subscribers. For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, visit xfinity.com/wifi. Once at a hotspot, consumers should select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots and then launch a browser.
• pausing data plans. With so many people working and educating from home, customers can access the internet without thinking about data plans. While the vast majority of Comcast customers do not come close to using 1TB of data in a month, data plans were paused for 60 days, which gives all customers unlimited data for no additional charge.
• no disconnects or late fees. Comcast will not disconnect customers’ internet service or assess late fees if they contact the company and let it know they can’t pay their bills during the period. Care teams will be available to offer flexible payment options and can help find other solutions.
• internet essentials free to new customers. As announced, it’s even easier for low-income families who live in a Comcast service area to sign-up for internet essentials broadband adoption program. New customers will receive 60 days of complimentary internet essentials service, which is normally available to all qualified low-income households for $9.95 per month. Additionally, for all new and existing internet essentials customers, the speed of the program’s internet service was increased to 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream. That increase went into effect for no additional fee, and it will become the new base speed for the program going forward.
• news, information and educational content on X1 and Flex. For those with school-age students at home, Comcast created new educational collections for all grade levels in partnership with Common Sense Media. Just say “education” into an X1 or Flex voice remote. To help keep customers informed, Comcast also created a collection of the most current news and information on coronavirus. Just say “coronavirus” into your X1 or Flex voice remote.
• 24-7 network monitoring. Underpinning all of the efforts, Comcast’s technology and engineering teams will continue to work to support network operations. Comcast engineers its network capacity to handle spikes and shifts in use patterns, and continuously test, monitor and enhances its systems and network to ensure it is ready to support customer use. Comcast engineers and technicians staff its network operations centers 24-7 to ensure network performance and reliability. It is monitoring network use and watching the load on the network both nationally and locally. To date, officials said it is performing well.
For more information and updates from Comcast related to coronavirus, visit comcastcorporation.com/COVID-19.