Comcast speeds up low-income Internet service for students stuck at home

Comcast has announced 'two substantial enhancements' to its Internet Essentials plan for low-income Americans, ones that are designed to help keep people online during the coronavirus outbreaks. In addition to speeding up the service for existing customers, the company is also offering the Internet Essentials service to qualified subscribers for free for 60 days.

Many schools are temporarily closing down in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus, which can cause a condition called COVID-19. The goal of these closures is to prevent many people from contracting the illness at once, which could overwhelm the hospitals and make it difficult to treat other conditions, as well.

The school closures mean that many K-12 and university students are now working from home, watching videos of classroom instruction. This is a problem for many low-income families who may not have Internet service or who have low-speed service with data caps.

Comcast is one of the service providers that offers a discounted plan to low-income families — it's called Internet Essentials, and it ordinarily costs $9.95/month. The service features 15Mbps download speeds and 3Mbps upload speeds, but Comcast says it is speeding those up to 25/3Mbps for all existing and new customers. This will be the new speed offered by Internet Essentials going forward.

As well, the new customers will get the 60 days of complimentary service, which should get them through most of the current school cancellations. The faster speeds will be rolled out over the next few days across the nation, according to Comcast.