Comcast and AT&T are extending through June 30 a set of initiatives they launched in response to COVID-19, offering wifi hotspots free to everyone (not just their customers) and more flexible payment options for internet, pay-TV and wireless services.
The extension, Comcast said, will “help ensure students can finish out the school year from home” and stay connected to the internet during the pandemic. AT&T said its moves were “consistent” with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s “Keep America Connected Pledge.”
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In addition to the hotspots across the U.S., Comcast is pledging not to disconnect service to any Xfinity customers and also to waive late fees and find flexible payment options or other solutions to bills coming due. It is also extending free trials of its “Internet Essentials” line of service, which costs $10 a month and aims to serve low-income households. AT&T’s announcement followed the same basic outline within its own footprint.
Unemployment has exploded during the coronavirus, leaving many Americans unable to afford housing costs, utility fees or other basic expenses.
The companies are also pausing their data plans, giving customers unlimited data at no additional charge.
“These extended measures will continue to keep Americans safe and ensure that households are equipped for students to learn and stay informed at home as the nation copes with this unprecedented disruption to our daily lives,” said Dave Watson, Comcast Cable Chief Executive Officer. “Our services have never been more important, and we’re doing everything we can to keep people connected to the internet.”
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