Large internet providers working to provide access to students

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Special to the
Opelika Observer

Alabama’s cable providers are rolling out no-cost and low-cost options for high-speed internet access to the state’s students and low-income populations hit hardest by closures and other impacts from COVID-19 pandemic precautions.
Alabamians rely on dependable broadband internet access, and increasingly so in the coming weeks as colleges convert to online instruction and more workers are being asked to telecommute. To help those least equipped with the technology to cope with this crisis, cable providers like Charter Spectrum and Comcast are providing an array of these services at reduced cost, no cost for 60 days, and in some cases automatically increasing upload and download speeds for all customers going forward.
“Alabama’s cable providers are also coordinating with our local governmental and non-profit organizations across the state to make sure we have the highest awareness of these broadband options among those most affected by COVID-19 preparations,” said Michelle Roth, Executive Director of the Alabama Cable and Broadband Association. “Please check with your local cable provider if you are unclear on options for student and low-income access during this critical time in Alabama.” She then outlined specific efforts by Charter Spectrum, Comcast (Xfinity) and CTV Beam.
For residents in Charter Spectrum service areas:
Charter will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription at any service level up to 100 Mbps. To enroll, call 1-844-488-8395.
Installation fees will be waived for new student households.
Charter will partner with school districts to ensure local communities are aware of these tools to help students learn remotely.
For eligible low-income households without school-aged children, Charter continues to offer Spectrum Internet Assist, a low-cost broadband program delivering speeds of 30 Mbps.
Charter will open its Wi-Fi hotspots across its Alabama service area for public use.

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