Internet Providers Change Services in Response to COVID-19
More families are figuring out how to work and go to school while staying at home. Internet providers are also responding to that growing need for connectivity.
On March 13, the FCC launched the “Keep Americans Connected Pledge” that encouraged providers to waive late fees and disconnections over the next 60 days and open Wi-Fi hot spots to people who need them. A growing number of companies have signed on to the pledge. You can read the full release here.
Comcast announced a change in services on Saturday that reflect pledge. These changes include free Xfinity WiFi for everyone, pausing the data plan, no disconnect or late fees, and a free internet package for low income families. The company is also increasing speeds for internet essentials customers.
Low-income families can sign up for 60 days of complimentary service, which is normally available for $9.95 a month.
A spokesperson for Comcast said they don’t have specific numbers to share, but know that people are taking advantage of the opportunity. The spokesperson advises that signing up online is the easiest way to subscribe. At the end of 2019, there were 172,000 Minnesota residents being served by Internet Essentials.
For those families, Comcast is also increasing internet speeds. Families can learn more here.
CenturyLink also announced they have taken the Keep Americans Connected Pledge. For the next 60 days, the company will waive late fees and not terminate services for residential or small businesses. They are also suspending data usage limits for customers. You can read more about their pledge here.