As tech companies look for ways to help during the Coronavirus pandemic the key thing many can offer is connectivity. Comcast, the nation’s biggest broadband provider will provide free Xfinity WiFi hotspots located in businesses and outdoor locations across the country for anyone – including people who don’t or can’t afford to subscribe to Xfinity Internet plans.
For existing customers, Comcast is pausing data plans for 60 days, giving unlimited data for no additional charge. It’s promised no disconnects or late fees if a customer can’t pay.
The measures follow a push to make it easier for low-income families in a Comcast service area to sign-up for Internet Essentials, which it calls the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program. New customers get 60 days of complimentary Internet Essentials service, which normally costs qualified households $9.95 a month. The speed of the program’s Internet service was also increased, to 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream, for no fee and that will become the new base speed for the program going forward.
Consumers can access a map of hotspots at www.xfinity.com/wifi.
“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 Cable CEO. “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.”
Other initiatives include news, information and educational content on X1 for school-age students at home of all grade levels, in partnership with Common Sense Media.
In this period of shelter-at-home very heavy usage, Comcast said its technology and engineering teams are supporting network operations “and continuously test, monitor and enhance” systems and network to ensure support. “We are monitoring network usage and watching the load on the network both nationally and locally, and to date it is performing well,”Comcasts aid.
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