Comcast to Double Speeds for Its $10 Low-Income Broadband Plan-news

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Comcast is doubling the speed for its Internet Essentials package—a $9.95-a-month plan—after a former employee claimed the program’s speed promises were a sham. 

The download speed is going up from 25Mbps to 50Mbps. Meanwhile, the upload speed is increasing from 3Mbps to 5Mbps. Most importantly, this is coming at no extra cost for Internet Essentials subscribers, Comcast announced on Tuesday. 

“To receive the increased internet speeds, existing customers will not need to do anything. The new speeds will be rolled out nationally beginning March 1,” the company added. 

Comcast’s Internet Essentials program provides low-income consumers with affordable broadband. It’s available to Americans who qualify for the National School Lunch Program, housing assistance and Medicaid. 

In the wake of COVID-19, Comcast last March raised the speeds for the Internet Essentials program from 15/2 Mbps to 25/3 Mbps—while saying it was trying to support Americans during the pandemic. However, last month, a former Comcast call center employee named Chase Roper took to Twitter to voice his dissatisfaction with the program’s advertised speed promises. 

“Depending on the devices in the home, placement of the modem, number of people trying to use the internet, your kids may not be able to do the live stream class environment,” he wrote in a subsequent blog post

This was underscored by how Comcast subscribers would call Roper, asking why the internet speeds were so slow. In response, company sales reps were allegedly trained to convince the same low-income subscribers to upgrade to a $100-a-month plan to obtain the faster internet speeds. “This practice of upselling these specific customers with the information that I just shared was actively encouraged and coached by sales supervisors,” Roper claimed. 

Comcast’s announcement didn’t mention Roper or his allegations. Instead, the company says its commitment to digital equity has never been stronger. “We are dedicated to leveling the playing field and making a lasting impact for generations to come,” Comcast Cable CEO Dave Watson said in a statement.

In the meantime, the company is instituting a 1.2TB data cap on Xfinity subscribers in the northeastern US, which is sparking calls for regulators to investigate.


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