Cable giant Charter Communications will provide free broadband for two months to households with students, as a number of U.S. schools are shutting down because of concerns about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Starting next Monday (March 16), Charter will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students — which do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription — at any service level up to 100 megabits per second.
The move follows Comcast’s announcement that it would extend free broadband to low-income families, also for a 60-day period, starting next week, and will boost speeds of the service tier (regularly $9.95 per month).
To enroll in Charter’s free-broadband program, eligible consumers must call (844) 488-8395. The company said it will waive installation fees for new student households. Charter said it will partner with school districts “to ensure local communities are aware of these tools to help students learn remotely.” In addition, the operator will open its Wi-Fi hotspots across its footprint for public use, free of charge.
For eligible low-income households without school-age children, Charter continues to offer Spectrum Internet Assist, a low-cost broadband program that provides speeds of up 30 Mbps.
“As the country works collaboratively to contain this pandemic, broadband internet access will be increasingly essential to ensuring that people across the country are able to learn and work remotely, that businesses can continue to serve customers, and that Americans stay connected and engaged with family and friends,” Charter said in a statement.
Charter has about 29 million customers across a 41-state footprint. The cable operator noted that it does not impose data caps or usage surcharges on broadband service.