As the coronavirus spreads in the United States, some internet service providers and telecommunication companies are trying to soften their grip on consumers by slightly lowering their prices and lifting data caps for the time being.
One of those companies is Comcast, which announced on Thursday that it would (modestly) increase its internet speed for low-income households. "As our country continues to manage the COVID-19 emergency," Dana Strong wrote, "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."
Slight increment in speed — Before Comcast, AT&T became the first ISP in the United States to suspend broadband data caps for customers, instead of charging them an extra and technically pointless $10 for every additional 50 gigabytes they used. Now Comcast is ramping up the speed for its discounted internet service from the original 15 Mbps up to 25 Mbps. Upload speeds will go from 2 Mbps to 3 Mbps.
It's not a huge change, obviously. Plus, new customers who want to take advantage of the program — as more and more people in the United States turn to remote work amid COVID-19 concerns — will have to apply and most likely jump through exhausting bureaucratic hoops to prove they are impoverished enough to qualify.
We'll take it — It's better than nothing, though. In its official press statement, Comcast says, "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."