- Network Performance Website: Information about Comcast’s network, the steps taken to ensure reliability, and additional measures Comcast is taking to keep everyone connected can be found here: https://corporate.comcast.com/covid-19/network
- Collection of Comcast’s COVID-19 Responses and Activities: All of Comcast’s COVID-19 responses and activities can be found here: https://corporate.comcast.com/covid-19.
- Xfinity WiFi Free For Everyone: Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country will be available to anyone who needs them for free – including non-Xfinity Internet subscribers. For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, visit www.xfinity.com/wifi. Once at a hotspot, consumers should select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots, and then launch a browser.
- Pausing Our Data Plan: With so many people working and educating from home, we want our customers to access the internet without thinking about data plans. While the vast majority of our customers do not come close to using 1TB of data in a month, we are pausing our data plans for 60 days giving all customers Unlimited data for no additional charge.
- No Disconnects or Late Fees: We will not disconnect a customer’s internet service or assess late fees if they contact us and let us know that they can’t pay their bills during this period. Our care teams will be available to offer flexible payment options and can help find other solutions.
- Internet Essentials Free to New Customers: As announced yesterday, it’s even easier for low-income families who live in a Comcast service area to sign-up for Internet Essentials, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program. New customers will receive 60 days of complimentary Internet Essentials service, which is normally available to all qualified low-income households for $9.95/month. Additionally, for all new and existing Internet Essentials customers, the speed of the program’s Internet service was increased to 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream. That increase will go into effect for no additional fee and it will become the new base speed for the program going forward.
- News, Information and Educational Content on X1 and Flex: For those with school-age students at home, we’ve created new educational collections for all grade levels in partnership with Common Sense Media. Just say “education” into your X1 or Flex voice remote. To help keep customers informed, we also have created a collection of the most current news and information on Coronavirus. Just say “Coronavirus” into your X1 or Flex voice remote.
- 24×7 Network Monitoring: Underpinning all of these efforts, Comcast’s technology and engineering teams will continue to work tirelessly to support our network operations. We engineer our network capacity to handle spikes and shifts in usage patterns, and continuously test, monitor and enhance our systems and network to ensure they are ready to support customer usage. Our engineers and technicians staff our network operations centers 24/7 to ensure network performance and reliability. We are monitoring network usage and watching the load on the network both nationally and locally, and to date it is performing well.
Comcast Increases Access to and Speeds of Internet Essentials’ Low-Income Internet Service to Support Americans Through the Coronavirus Pandemic
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.
We also know that for millions of low-income Americans who don’t have Internet service at home, this uncertain time is going to be even more difficult to manage. As schools and businesses close and families are encouraged, or even mandated, to stay home, Internet connectivity becomes even more important.
At Comcast, we’ve been looking for ways to help through our Internet Essentials program, which is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program for low-income Americans. Since 2011, it has connected millions of individuals to the Internet.
A hallmark of this program has been our flexibility in adjusting Internet Essentials to meet the needs of low-income residents in our footprint. So, effective Monday, we are putting in place two substantial program enhancements to help these families deal with this crisis.
- We will make it even easier for low-income families who live in a Comcast service area to sign up by offering new customers 60 days of complimentary Internet Essentials service, which is normally available to all qualified low-income households for $9.95/month.
- Also, we are increasing Internet speeds for the Internet Essentials service from 15/2 Mbps to 25/3 Mbps for all new and existing customers, which will be the speed of the service going forward. In this way, we will ensure that Internet Essentials customers will be able to use their Internet service for all their increased needs as a result of this health crisis.
We want to make it as fast and simple as possible to access this service:
- To receive the increased Internet speeds, existing customers will not need to do anything. The new speeds will be rolled out nationally over the next few days.
- We’ll send all new customers a free self-install kit that includes a cable modem with a Wi-Fi router. There will be no term contract or credit check and no shipping fee.
- To sign up, applicants can simply visit www.internetessentials.com. The accessible website also includes the option to video chat with customer service agents in American Sign Language. There are also two dedicated phone numbers 1-855-846-8376 for English and 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.
We’re also reaching out to our thousands of governmental and nonprofit partners to help us spread the word. Our hope is that broader access and faster speeds will help all of our Internet Essentials customers more easily work from home, access educational resources, obtain important government health care alerts, and stay in contact with their families during this difficult time.
Director, Government & Regulatory Affairs
222 New Park Drive
Berlin, CT 06037
Xfinity xFi Advanced Security will now be included free for all xFi customers using Xfinity’s xFi Gateway.
New customers will receive Advanced Security immediately upon activating an xFi Gateway.
Xfinity xFi gives customers a simple, digital dashboard to set up and manage their home WiFi networks.
Effective October 10, 2019, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will move to the Sports Entertainment Package and will no longer be included in its current service package(s). Customers will have to purchase the Sports Entertainment Package for approximately $10 per month to wartch TCM. Comcast is notifying impacted customers of these changes through a bill message.
COMCAST ANNOUNCES LARGEST EVER EXPANSION OF ITS INTERNET ESSENTIALS PROGRAM TO REACH ALL LOW-INCOME AMERICANS
Three Million Newly Eligible Households Include Those with Disabilities and Seniors
In Eight Years, the Program Has Now Connected More Than Eight Million People From Two Million Households to the Internet at Home
PHILADELPHIA, PA – August 6, 2019 – Comcast announced today it is significantly expanding eligibility for Internet Essentials, which is the nation’s largest, most comprehensive, and most successful broadband adoption program in America, to include all qualified low-income households in its service area. The expansion is the most significant change in the program’s history. The Company estimates that more than three million additional low-income households, including households with people with disabilities, are now eligible to apply. It estimates a total of nearly seven million households now have access to low-cost Internet service, which literally doubles the total number of previously eligible households. In addition, the company announced that, since August 2011, Internet Essentials has connected more than eight million low-income individuals, from two million households, to the Internet at home, most for the first time in their lives. Today’s announcement follows 11 prior eligibility expansions, including last year’s extension of the program to low-income veterans.
“This expansion is the culmination of an audacious goal we set eight years ago, which was to meaningfully and significantly close the digital divide for low-income Americans,” said David L. Cohen, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast NBCUniversal. “The Internet is arguably the most important technological innovation in history, and it is unacceptable that we live in a country where millions of families and individuals are missing out on this life-changing resource. Whether the Internet is used for students to do their homework, adults to look for and apply for new jobs, seniors to keep in touch with friends and family, or veterans to access their well-deserved benefits or medical assistance, it is absolutely essential to be connected in our modern, digital age.”
To be eligible to apply to the program, low-income applicants simply need to show they are participating in one of more than a dozen different government assistance programs. These include: Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). A full list of these programs can be found at www.internetessentials.com. The Company already accepts applications from households that have a student eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program, live in public housing or receive HUD Housing Assistance, including Section 8 vouchers, or participate in the Veterans Pension Program, as well as low-income seniors and community college students in select pilot markets.
According to U.S. Census data, households living in cities with the highest poverty rates, are up to 10 times more likely than those in higher earning communities not to have fixed broadband at home. For example, in Palo Alto, California, or Bethesda, Maryland – where poverty rates are very low – only about six percent of households do not have a broadband Internet subscription – 94 percent are connected. But in Trenton, New Jersey, and Flint, Michigan – where poverty rates are way above the national average – 60 percent or more of households do not have fixed broadband at home – that is, less than half are connected. That gap of more than 50 points defines the digital divide in this country.
Internet Essentials has an integrated, wrap-around design that addresses each of the three major barriers to broadband adoption that research has identified. These include: a lack of digital literacy skills, lack of awareness of the relevance of the Internet to every day life needs, and fear of the Internet, the lack of a computer, and cost. As a result, the program includes: multiple options to access free digital literacy training in print, online, and in person, the option to purchase an Internet-ready computer for less than $150; and low-cost, high-speed Internet service for $9.95 a month plus tax. The program is structured as a partnership between Comcast and tens of thousands of school districts, libraries, elected officials, and nonprofit community partners. For more information, or to apply for the program in seven different languages, please visit www.internetessentials.com or call 1-855-846-8376. Spanish-only speakers can also call 1-855-765-6995.
The most significant barrier to broadband adoption in low-income communities remains a basket of digital literacy deficits, lack of digital awareness, and fear of the Internet. To help address this barrier, since 2011, Comcast has invested more than $650 million to support digital literacy training and awareness, reaching more than 9.5 million low-income Americans. In addition, the company has either sold or donated more than 100,000 discounted and heavily subsidized computers to families and veterans that need one.
About Comcast Corporation
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company with three primary businesses: Comcast Cable, NBCUniversal, and Sky. Comcast Cable is one of the United States’ largest video, high-speed Internet, and phone providers to residential customers under the Xfinity brand, and also provides these services to businesses. It also provides wireless and security and automation services to residential customers under the Xfinity brand. NBCUniversal is global and operates news, entertainment and sports cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, television production operations, television station groups, Universal Pictures, and Universal Parks and Resorts. Sky is one of Europe’s leading media and entertainment companies, connecting customers to a broad range of video content through its pay television services. It also provides communications services, including residential high-speed Internet, phone, and wireless services. Sky operates the Sky News broadcast network and sports and entertainment networks, produces original content, and has exclusive content rights. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.
Charlie Douglas Rachel Zabinski
(215) 264-8020 (215) 531-4438
Don’t fret, cable news junkies. Just get digital.
By Freda Moon
Earlier this month, Comcast cable subscribers across Connecticut who tuned in to C-SPAN 2 found a distressing color-block test pattern in place of old white men pounding gavels. The cable channel that once carried coverage of the Senate and BookTV’s conversations with authors was gone.
The space C-SPAN 2 took up has since been replaced with a slew of high-definition channels, including Discovery Channel HD, USA Network HD, The History Channel HD, A&E HD and the Food Network HD. The decision was made, according to Comcast spokeswoman Laura A. Brubaker, because of the “tremendous interest for more HD viewing choices.”
Like a lousy swimmer caught by the tides, C-SPAN 2 has been displaced—at least temporarily—by technological change. In recent years, cable TV has been in competition not only with broadcast television but satellite services and the internet. The response has been a widespread shift in the cable industry, which is rapidly moving from analog to digital transmission. Because analog channels consume such a large amount of space (or bandwidth), cable companies can offer far more “features” when channels are transmitted digitally—eight to 12 digital or up to three high-def channels for every analog channel. More channels make for happier customers.
Comcast will still offer C-SPAN 2 to customers who subscribe to digital cable, where there’s room for far more channels and better image quality. Comcast’s marketing emphasizes that digital cable costs the same amount as the company’s standard cable package (though digital comes with a $3.99 a month charge for the box and remote) and offers more buzz words to a feature-happy American public: Interactive programming! On-demand content! Digital music channels!
C-SPAN, which was created in 1979 as a private, non-profit, cable television industry-funded, public service station, has had ups and downs in its almost 30-year history. But because it’s a non-profit, the company is better able to weather changes that might threaten advertising-based media. While Comcast’s move means that C-SPAN no longer reaches as many homes as it once did—a blow to Connecticut’s Robert Byrd fans—C-SPAN itself will not suffer.
“Though we’re disappointed to be available at this point in fewer homes,” said C-SPAN Vice President Peter Kiley by phone from Washington, D.C., “we recognize that Comcast is entering the transition to digital and we’re pleased that they’re making it relatively easy for C-SPAN fans to get digital boxes and access to C-SPAN networks.”
For analog devotees or those too broke to dish out an additional $47.88 a year for digital cable, all three C-SPAN channels stream live on C-SPAN’s website (c-span.org). ¡Viva la media libre!