(Photo by Flickr user Santiago Cabezas, under a Creative Commons license)
Update 3/16/2020: Over the next 60 days, Comcast has also opened up its Xfinity Wi-Fi free to for public use and paused its data plan, so everyone will have access to unlimited data. The company said it will also not disconnect any customers’ internet during this time or issue late fees.
Update 4/28/2020: Comcast announced on April 27 that it would be extending its free services through June 30. Users can also sign up for a free 60 days of Internet Essentials through June 30.
To help low-income families stay connected to updates about the COVID-19 pandemic, Comcast is giving away two months of free internet services through its Internet Essentials program for eligible households that sign up starting Monday, March 16.
The broadcast company said it would also be increasing the speed of the program to 25 Mbps downloads, and 3 Mbps uploads for all new and existing Internet Essentials customers.
Internet Essentials offers a range of communities, including low-income families, veterans and people with disabilities, a $10-per-month internet plan and the option to purchase a computer for $150.
After new customers sign up, they will receive a free self-install kit and Wi-Fi router. New customers will get two months of free service and can choose to cancel at any time, Comcast announced.
Those who apply starting Monday will move through the qualification process if they are eligible for public assistance programs such as the National School Lunch Program, Housing Assistance, Medicaid, SNAP, SSI and others. Applicants must not owe debt to Comcast that’s less than a year old and must not have been subscribed to Comcast internet in the past 90 days.
If approved, households will receive their kits in seven to 10 business days, Comcast said.
IOpipe cofounder Erica Windisch urged Comcast to open its public Wi-Fi to serve the thousands of families and schoolchildren who may need access in the next few weeks to work from home or complete virtual assignments.
“It sounds like there’s a signup and wait process with an install,” Windisch told Technical.ly via Twitter DM. “It isn’t clear that this is available to those that are homeless or without housing stability.”
Thousands of children are, or will be, asked to homeschool at this difficult time. Our neediest are currently without internet in the Philadelphia region.
Please @xfinity open your network in this critical time.
— Erica Windisch (@ewindisch) March 13, 2020
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