SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Spectrum announced Friday it will offer free high-speed internet service and Wi-Fi for 60 days to households with students as many schools and colleges temporarily close or switch to online classes because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Starting Monday, March 16, the Charter Communications-owned company will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with children in grades K-12 or in college who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription at any service level up to 100 Mbps, the company said.
Families can call (844) 488-8395 to enroll. Installation fees will be waived for new student households, the company said.
Spectrum said regular pricing will take effect at the end of the 60-day period if a customer doesn’t cancel or change the service.
“In the coming weeks, many Americans will be affected either directly or indirectly by COVID-19, and Charter is focused on serving and supporting our 29 million customers,” the company said. “Americans rely on high-speed broadband in nearly every aspect of their lives and Charter is committed to ensuring our customers maintain reliable access to the online resources and information they want and need.”
For eligible low-income households without school-aged children, Spectrum will continue to offer Spectrum Internet Assist, a low-cost broadband program delivering speeds of 30 Mbps, the company said.
In addition, the company said it will open its Wi-Fi hotspots across its service territory for public use. Spectrum is the largest cable company in New York.
Many schools and colleges across the nation are extending their spring breaks to guard against students and staff contracting COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Some colleges, including Syracuse University, are switching to online classes, at least temporarily. That will create more demand for high-speed internet service in students’ home.
Spectrum, which is owned by Charter Communications, said it will partner with school districts to ensure local communities are aware of the offer of free service.
“As the country works collaboratively to contain this pandemic, broadband internet access will be increasingly essential to ensuring that people across the country are able to learn and work remotely, that businesses can continue to serve customers, and that Americans stay connected and engaged with family and friends,” the company said.
The World Health Organization on Wednesday declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. The disease has a much higher mortality rate than the flu, especially for older adults and people with serious chronic illnesses.
In addition to schools closing or switching to online classes, the outbreak has prompted companies to direct their employees to work from home and caused the cancellation of many sporting events.
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