Comcast will extend its commitments to help people connect to the internet during the COVID-19 pandemic through the first half of 2021 as millions continue to stay home while many workplaces and schools operate virtually.
The cable TV giant said Monday it is extending its free access through June 30, 2021, to more than 1.5 million of its public Xfinity WiFi hotspots, the largest network of its kind in the country. Comcast also is continuing to offer free internet service for the first 60 days for new Internet Essentials customers through next June.
“For nearly a decade, we’ve been on a mission to ensure students have the resources they need to be successful,” Comcast CEO Dave Watson said. “We have accelerated that work during COVID-19 by partnering with public schools to provide internet for more low-income students and by working with community centers to create safe spaces for families to connect to free WiFi through Lift Zones.”
Comcast is offering hundreds of free WiFi hotspots in the Chattanooga region, even though Hamilton County Schools is offering free WiFi service through EPB Fiber Optics to all households with students eligible for free- or reduced-price lunches in Hamilton County under the HCS Connect program backed by the city of Chattanooga, Hamilton County government and local foundations.
Watson said Comcast has invested more than $12 billion to expand and evolve its network since 2017. Since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis in the United States, Comcast network teams have worked to triple network augmentations, install new hardware, and upgrade network software to expand capacity. The company performs nearly 700,000 diagnostic speed tests daily which show that, on average, it is meeting, and most times exceeding advertised speeds across all of its service areas, Comcast spokeswoman Sara Jo Walker said.
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