Responding to the COVID-19 Outbreak
As our country responds to the challenges being created by the COVID-19 outbreak, the cable industry is stepping up its efforts to ensure the health of its workforce, the strength of its networks, and the well-being of its customers. We are working with federal, state and local government officials and community leaders to share appropriate information and stay abreast of current developments.
As we operate in small and large communities in every corner of the country, the health and safety of our employees and customers in the communities we serve is our top priority. Our employees are being advised of workplace risk and mitigation strategies consistent with guidance from CDC recommendations, and are adopting limitations on non-essential travel and self-quarantine policies in appropriate circumstances.
We are also intensely focused on providing superior network performance to our customers and constantly evaluating how our networks can handle potential changes in consumer behavior, including increased work-from-home and school-from-home environments. To date, our members in local areas most affected by the outbreak have reported modest, but manageable changes in consumer internet usage. We remain vigilant in monitoring and managing network performance around the clock and are confident that our networks will perform well in adapting to any changes in consumer behavior that may result as a consequence of a community’s response to COVID-19.
In addition, our industry has been a national leader in closing the digital divide with companies offering broadband adoption programs targeted at low-income households, which to date have connected more than 8 million people to the internet. Given the potential needs of teachers and students for at-home instruction, our companies are actively exploring additional ways to expand existing initiatives and develop strategies that will help more families, especially those with school age children who may be forced to be out of school, get connected. Just this afternoon, Comcast announced that low-income families who are new customers can sign up for 60 days of complimentary Internet Essentials service, which is normally available to low-income households for $9.95/month. The company is also increasing speeds for the Internet Essentials service from 15/2 Mbps to 25/3 Mbps for all new and existing customers.
As America continues to grapple with the unknowns of this pandemic, the U.S. cable industry will do all we can to contribute to our national preparedness and recovery.