Customers of Comcast’s Web Necessities plan will likely be getting a major pace enhance on March 1st. The service, which at present runs at 25Mbps, will likely be routinely upgraded to 50Mbps with out requiring extra charges or motion from prospects. Add speeds are additionally being elevated from 3Mbps to 5Mbps. Quicker entry for a similar worth ought to be a aid for a lot of households struggling to adapt to having work, faculty, and leisure largely shifted to the web throughout the pandemic.
The Web Necessities plan is Comcast’s $9.95 per 30 days (plus tax, in fact) web service offered to qualifying low-income households eligible for assistance from packages like SNAP, Medicaid, or WIC. That is the second time in a yr that Comcast’s program is getting a pace bump: it was upgraded from 15Mbps in March of last year.
Comcast upgrading its least expensive plans to 50 / 5Mbps is considerably of a rebuke to former FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who last month claimed that 25 / 3Mbps speeds are “an applicable measure by which to evaluate whether or not a set service is offering superior telecommunications functionality.” It appears even Comcast disagrees with Pai.
The upgrades are a part of Comcast’s response to the coronavirus, however the quicker speeds ought to stick round after the pandemic is over. In March, the corporate made its public Wi-Fi hotspots free, and in September it began the “Carry Zone” program, which provides access to Wi-Fi and educational resources for individuals dwelling in low-income areas.
With COVID-19 shutdowns having a disproportionate impact on low-income households, it’s good to know that the individuals who want it most will likely be getting quicker web service with out having to pay any extra price. After all, there’ll nonetheless be individuals who want web entry that won’t have it, however the announcement is one vibrant spot in a information class that always doesn’t present feel-good tales.
Disclosure: Comcast is an investor in Vox Media, The Verge’s mum or dad firm.