Comcast extended commitments to waive late fees, not terminate service for late payment and provide free broadband to lower-income households, as the U.S. remains largely under lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The cable giant on Monday announced that the pledges it made last month in the early days of the COVID-19 crisis in the U.S., initially for a 60-day period, will now run through June 30. The company said its goal is “to help ensure students can finish out the school year from home and remain connected to the internet during the COVID-19 crisis.”
Comcast’s Internet Essentials, normally $9.95 per month, will be free to qualifying households through the end of June. To be qualify for the service, customers must be eligible for public-assistance programs such as the National School Lunch Program, Housing Assistance, Medicaid, SNAP, or SSI. Applicants can visit internetessentials.com to enroll in the program; they may also call (855) 846-8376 for English or 855-765-6995 for Spanish.
After June 30, Internet Essentials customers who signed up through the free offer can opt to keep the service for $9.95 monthly or return the cable modem to Comcast and pay nothing.
Under the FCC-led Keep Americans Connected program, the cable company said it will not disconnect customers’ broadband, voice or mobile services (and will not charge late fees) if they notify Comcast they are unable to pay their bills during this period. That pledge also is now running through June 30.
In addition, Comcast is making Xfinity WiFi hotspots in business and outdoor locations across the U.S. free to anyone and has suspended its bandwidth-usage caps for no additional charge until the end of June.
“These extended measures will continue to keep Americans safe and ensure that households are equipped for students to learn and stay informed at home as the nation copes with this unprecedented disruption to our daily lives,” Comcast Cable CEO Dave Watson said in a statement. “Our services have never been more important, and we’re doing everything we can to keep people connected to the internet.”
Separately Monday, Verizon and AT&T also both committed to waive late fees and not terminate service for inability to pay bills also through June 30.