Internet companies announce support for low-income customers during COVID-19 outbreak

AT&T, Comcast and Verizon are seeking to assist low-income customers.  

Comcast, AT&T and Verizon have announced they will be making it easier for low-income customers to access the Internet amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Some will be offering free access to hotspots or creating new lower-cost packages, and make it easier for new customers to sign up.

AT&T announced March 18 that it was waiving data overage fees to all customers It also has promised it would not terminate any customers’ service in the next two months. AT&T public Wi-Fi hotspots will remain open. It will continue the Access from AT&T program, which offers Internet access to qualifying limited income households for only $10 a month. It is also underwriting expenses for a one-stop resource center for eLearning Days from the State Educational Technology Directors Association, which is available to help all educators handle school closings and virtual learning.

Comcast announced a speed increase for its Internet Essentials program, which is offered to low-income customers. Speed will increase from 15/2 MBPS to 25/3 MBPS, and new families will get two months of Internet service for free. After that 60-day period, the Internet Essentials package will be $9.95 per month for all qualified low-income households.

The new speeds take effect over the next few days. All new customers will receive a self-install kit with a cable modem, Wi-Fi router and no contract or credit check. There will also be no shipping fee. Applicants can sign up at w or call one of two dedicated phone lines: 855-846-8376 (English) or 855-765-6995 (Spanish).

Verizon has promised not to terminate any customer’s service for the next two months, and it will waive any late fees.  The company is also increasing its capital budget from $17-$18 billion to $17.5 to $18.5 billion to speed up the transition to 5G and support the economy.

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