Citing Coronavirus, Comcast Boosts 'Essentials' Speeds

Comcast is boosting speeds of its Internet Essentials low-income subsidized broadband due to the coronavirus pandemic. It will also make it easier for low income households without broadband to sign up. 

"As our country continues to manage the COVID-19 emergency, we recognize that our company plays an important role in helping our customers stay connected – to their families, their workplaces, their schools, and the latest information about the virus – through the Internet," said Dana Strong, president of consumer services for Comcast Cable. 

She said that was particularly important for low income Americans for who uncertainty is even more difficult.  

She said that effective March 16, Comcast is boosting the speed of the Internet Essentials service from 15 Mbps/2 Mbps to 25/3 (the FCC's baseline for high-speed access). Strong said that will ensure customers will be able to use the service for "all their increased needs." Those could include telework, telehealth and remote schooling. 

Comcast will also offer new Internet Essentials customers 60 days of complimentary service--after which it will be $9.95 per month, the standard price. New customers will get a free self-install kit--modem and WiFi router, and there will be no term contract or credit check and no shipping cost for the kit.  

Comcast said it is reaching out to "thousands of governmental and nonprofit partners" to spread the word about the changes to the program.  

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.