Comcast said it has extended two broadband-focused commitments through June 30, 2021, as millions continue to work and school from home through an unrelenting pandemic.
Under the first extension, the cable op said it will continue to provide free Internet service for the first 60 days to new Internet Essentials customers. Internet Essentials, a low-cost service program born out of Comcast's acquisition of NBCUniversal, provides Internet service (up to 25 Mbit/s downstream) for $9.95 per month to eligible households, plus access to discounted computers and free digital literacy training. Comcast recently complemented its Internet Essentials program with the deployment of more than 1,000 Wi-Fi "Lift Zones" in community centers in several US cities, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Denver, Detroit and Philadelphia. These lift zones provide free connectivity to low-income students. Comcast expects to install least 200 Lift Zones before the end of the year.
For its second COVID-19-related commitment extension, Comcast said it will provide free access to more than 1.5 million public Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots through June 30, 2021.
Today's announcements mark the third time Comcast has extended these two commitments, which were set to expire at the end of 2020.
One early, temporary COVID-19-related change to Comcast's broadband policies has not carried through, though. Comcast temporarily suspended its use of data caps and other usage-based data policies for its home broadband service in the initial phases of the pandemic, but restored them in July while also raising the policy's monthly ceiling to 1.2 terabytes – 200 gigabytes more than the 1TB limit in place prior to the US COVID-19 outbreak.
Comcast also confirmed that it will extend its broadband data policy to its northeast region starting in January 2021. However, customers there will effectively get a two-month grace period, as Comcast will credit back any charges associated with data overages or unlimited data for January and February. Additionally, customers on Comcast's data plan also get one courtesy month every 12 months, so it's possible that some customers in Comcast's northeast division would get a reprieve until April 2021.
Today’s access network architecture is under mounting pressure due to a continued surge in the number of connected devices, a proliferation of bandwidth-intensive customer applications and dramatic shifts in usage patterns related to the pandemic, such as work-from-home and e-learning.
Learn why now is the right time for cable operators to build greenfield networks or expand their existing networks with 10G PON, arming customers with high-speed symmetrical broadband. Gain a clear understanding of the drivers impacting the access network and the various approaches being considered to deliver higher speed services. Plus, find out the best practices that operators are employing as they leverage the latest in passive optical technology to future-proof their networks.
Topics to be covered include:
Node + 0 (Fiber Deep)
DOCSIS 3.1, DOCSIS 4.0 (FDX/ESD)
FTTP and 10G PON
Provisioning 10G PON within a DOCSIS B/OSS environment