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VERIFY: Families with students can get free home internet if they didn't have it before

A popular tweet said families with students could get free internet service with Spectrum. Comcast is also making a similar offer, the VERIFY team has learned.
Credit: AP
Kirsten Martin, 16, a Kell High School student works from home due to the Coronavirus outbreak, Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Kennesaw, Ga. Coronavirus infections across the country reached approximately 4,700, and the death toll climbed to at least 93, with more than half of the victims from Washington state. Worldwide, more than 7,300 have died.(AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

Classrooms across the country are being emptied to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Many students, in both K-12 and college, have now also had to shift to online courses instead.

This can be a problem for students without internet access at home. A news report from 2017 said 60 million urban Americans at the time did not have internet because they either couldn’t afford it or had no access to it.

Luckily, according to one tweet, internet service providers are offering it free for students while many schools go all online.

But is it real?

THE QUESTION

Are service providers offering free internet for students without it?

THE ANSWER

Comcast and Spectrum are both offering 60 days of free internet to people without their services. Cox is offering a free month to new Connect2Compete customers. 

WHAT WE FOUND

Both Comcast and Spectrum recently put out press releases announcing their offers, and the details of each are slightly different.

Spectrum is offering free Wi-Fi and broadband access up to 100 MBPS to any household with K-12 and/or college students that doesn’t already have Spectrum. Installation fees will be waived for these households, and anyone wishing to enroll will need to call 1-844-488-8395.

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Comcast is expanding a service they already offer for low-income families called Internet Essentials. The service, which is normally $9.95 a month, will be free for new customers for 60 days and is 25 MBPS. People hoping to sign up for the services can call 1-855-846-8376 for English and 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.

Both internet service providers are also offering free access to their Wi-Fi hotspots across the country. 

“Cox is offering a free month to new Connect2Compete customers. The Connect2Compete program is a low-cost internet option for families with school-aged children in low-income assistance programs. They are also offering their “Starter” service for new customers at a discount of $19.99 for 60 days. Both Connect2Compete and Starter are currently being offered at 50 MBPS.”

A correction note: CORRECTION: A previous version of this story stated that Cox wasn’t offering free service but was offering a package at a discount. While they are still offering that package as a discount, they are also offering a month of free service for qualifying customers.

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