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The COVID-19 pandemic has been hurling panic left, right and center. Masses worldwide have been left with no choice but to stay home, lock away their mutual interaction, and enforce social distancing to the maximum. Now that these are the new norms dictating our reality, businesses, employees, and students alike, have come to face a variety of challenges.
In the United States, national masterminds are working day and night to find a solution to contain this abomination. But while the pandemic prevails, more and more people are stuck at home with their studies, jobs, and businesses severely impacted. Therefore, the ISP community has joined hands to help the ones affected by the pandemic the most.
Here is what they’re doing in order to bring about a change in how they operate, with the sole aim to help students and educators, the ones telecommuting, and the existing low-income households across the U.S.
Spectrum leads the cable broadband domain in the U.S. by covering 40 states and a population of over 102 million - a stature that hasn’t been assumed by Spectrum at random.
With COVID-19 surging from state to state, affecting an array of not only industries and corporates, but households, students and educators, as well as telecommuters, Charter Spectrum™ has deemed it necessary to offer free internet for students and educators alike. Not only the K-12 households but families that include college-going students are set to benefit from this generosity in times of dire need.
Spectrum currently stands with 29 million customers countrywide. With the heightened mass reliance on the internet amid the pandemic, many ISPs decided to do away with data caps. But Spectrum chose to go many steps further in favor of households that cannot afford to pay the service charge for their existing connection, or for that matter a new connection.
Realizing fully that going without the internet is sure to cause major setbacks for students, who will be deprived of timely access to online resources, Spectrum has been indeed highly flexible. Spectrum services shall not be discontinued on account of non-payment, and no late fee shall be charged either in case of households caught up in a financial crisis related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
What is exceptional about the Spectrum free internet for students offer is that it is not limited to existing subscribers, rather also encompasses students and educators who do not currently hold an account with Spectrum. New subscribers from these categories will be furnished a self-installation kit to smooth out their difficulties. Moreover, Spectrum has made access to its nationwide Wi-Fi hotspot network available to public – you don’t have to be a Spectrum subscriber to connect to an available Spectrum Internet hotspot during these critical times.
Among the top leading ISPs nationwide, Spectrum is one, among less than a handful, that doesn’t impose data caps as a policy. Additionally, Spectrum already runs an internet plan for low-income families under the name Spectrum Internet Assist. The provider does not intend to discontinue that service by any means. All eligible families can still subscribe to it, in turn, get up to 30 Mbps internet speed and a free internet modem without a contract – all at extremely affordable rates i.e. under $15/month.
Xfinity from Comcast is another major cable ISP in the U.S. with a footprint engraved across 39 states. Having already accomplished a more than fair stance with its Internet Essentials plan, which is a perfect find for low-income households, Xfinity can easily boost its ongoing contribution towards easing out the difficulties faced by the less privileged cross-section of the society.
Those who qualify for the program, get up to 25 Mbps download speeds and the upload speed ranges up to 3 Mbps – at a remarkably low rate of $9.95/mo. plus taxes. Customers are not charged an activation fee or equipment rental charge either, while the Wireless Gateway that connects the entire house to the in-home Wi-Fi network comes free.
New subscribers of Internet Essentials plan are eligible for complimentary internet service by Xfinity for 60 days, if they sign up by April 30, 2020.
In addition to the massive convenience already afforded to deserving families, who also happen to be the most hard-hit amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Xfinity has lifted the data limit of 1 TB on all Xfinity internet plans until the mid of May 2020. A more than welcome contribution at a time when internet access is right at the top of everyone’s priority list for a myriad of reasons. Xfinity hotspots across the U.S. are also no longer limited to providing connectivity to current Xfinity subscribers, rather free-to-use for the general public as well.
AT&T is too big of a giant to not lend a hand to the spectra of low-income household internet plans. The low-cost internet plan i.e. Access from AT&T, offers two tiers – for $10 plus tax you get download speeds between 5 Mbps and 10 Mbps, while you can access downstream speeds from 768Kbps to 3 Mbps for only $5 plus tax. Both plans come without a term commitment or deposit, the installation is free of charge and so is the in-home Wi-Fi service. Data limits range from 150 GB to 1 TB based on location.
To ease the turmoil of households caught up in the COVID-19 pandemic, AT&T has relaxed the eligibility criteria to include a wider cross-section of the deserving. And new customers signing up for Access from AT&T can also enjoy 60 days’ worth of free internet service if they subscribe by April 30, 2020. Moreover, data overage fees for residential consumers have been waived.
Along with that, the provider has pulled back the implementation of data caps across the board, until further notice.
Mediacom has announced to waive data caps across the board – subscribers to every Mediacom internet plan can now avail themselves of unlimited data until May 15, 2020. That is however not the only response from Mediacom to the mass plight caused by COVID-19 pandemic.
The cable broadband behemoth has spurred some changes in its Connect2Complete program for low-income households too. The range of download and upload speeds for subscribers of the program has now been increased – instead of 10 Mbps/1 Mbps, users can now benefit from 25 Mbps/3 Mbps-fast internet. If qualified households* subscribe to the program before May 15, they will be eligible for 60 days of complimentary service from Mediacom, without contracts, deposits, equipment rental or installation fees. 60-day free access to Mediacom Xtream Wi-Fi hotspots is also one of the short-term modifications made to the Connect2Compete program.
For all new subscribers, a $10 discount on Access Internet 60 (60 Mbps-fast) has been announced by Mediacom - another change that is bound to contribute to the cause of easing out difficulties for Americans in this time of crisis.
*Any household with at least one child eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or one K-12 student living at home can qualify for the program.
Cox Communications, another U.S. telecom giant, has also made temporary adjustments to its internet subscription plans in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; especially for low-income households which already benefit from the Cox Connect2Compete program.
For a limited time, new subscribers can avail themselves of 2 months worth of free Connect2Compete service – the service will cost them $9.95/mo. thereafter. Along with that, they will be eligible to receive a free phone and remote desktop support for all their technical issues until May 15. In association with PCs for People, resources for discounted or refurbished equipment will also be made available by Cox. The plan comes without contractual stipulations, no deposit is necessary, and in-home Wi-Fi comes included.
As for existing Connect2Compete subscribers, Cox has increased the bandwidth – up until May 15, they will be able to stay connected at speeds up to 50 Mbps. This low-cost program otherwise furnishes speeds up to 15 Mbps, perfect for the vast majority of low-income K-12 households in normal circumstances.
As far as subscribers to other Cox internet plans, the 1 TB data limit has been waived off until May 15, thus benefitting a massive number of customers across the U.S. Internet Starter speeds too, have been increased to 50 Mbps from 10 Mbps. This plan will come free for the first month if you sign up before May 15, and will cost you a discounted $19.99 for the next 11 months.
Call at 1-855-349-9316 to learn more details.
If interested you can also take a look at this detailed list of all the internet service providers that have waived off data caps as a way of responding to the COVID-19 crisis.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused enough havoc already, and we can only hope for things to settle down worldwide. Until then many industries, tech giants, and telecom service providers will continue to work head to head with a focus on providing ease to the families, students, and businesses that have been hit the hardest.
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