With the U.S. reeling from the novel coronavirus pandemic — and as many people are being forced to work from home temporarily — Comcast is expanding its broadband service for low-income families to provide free access for 60 days and increasing speeds.
Starting next Monday (March 16), Comcast said, it will launch two new features of the Internet Essentials program. First, low-income families who live in a Comcast service area can sign up as new customers to receive 60 days of free Internet Essentials service, which is normally available to all qualified households for $9.95 per month.
In addition, the cable operator is increasing speeds for the Internet Essentials service from 15/2 Mbps (downstream/upstream throughput) to 25/3 Mbps for all new and existing customers, which will become the standard speed of the service going forward.
To qualify for Comcast’s Internet Essentials 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.
Comcast said it will send all new Internet Essentials customers a free self-install kit that includes a cable modem with a Wi-Fi router, with no term contract or credit check and no shipping fee.
“Our hope is that broader access and faster speeds will help all of our Internet Essentials customers more easily work from home, access educational resources, obtain important government health care alerts, and stay in contact with their families during this difficult time,” Dana Strong, Comcast Cable’s president of consumer services, said in a statement.