Linux Foundation Launches Industry Collaboration with Magma to Accelerate Deployment of Wireless Networks

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Today, the Linux Foundation announced that it will launch an open source industry collaboration focused on enabling a converged cellular core network stack, starting with the Magma open source software platform.

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Today, the Linux Foundation announced that it will launch an open source industry collaboration focused on enabling a converged cellular core network stack, starting with the Magma open source software platform. Previously open sourced by Facebook in 2019, Magma will now be managed under a neutral governance framework at the Linux Foundation.

Arm, Deutsche Telekom, Facebook, FreedomFi, Qualcomm, the Institute of Wireless Internet of Things at Northeastern University, the OpenAirInterface Software Alliance, and the Open Infrastructure Foundation, will join the collaboration as founding members to accelerate the path to production use cases at scale.

Magma enables operators to build and augment modern and efficient mobile networks at scale. Magma features an access-agnostic mobile packet core, advanced network automation and management tools, and the ability to integrate with existing LTE networks with use cases across both virtual and container Network Functions (xNFs) including fixed wireless access, carrier Wi-Fi, private LTE and 5G, network expansion, and mobile broadband. A number of Magma community members are also collaborating in the Telecom Infra Project (TIP)’s Open Core Network project group to define, build, test, and deploy core network products that leverage Magma software alongside disaggregated hardware and software solutions by the TIP Open Core ecosystem.

By enabling automation of common network operations like element configuration, software updates and device provisioning, Magma reduces the complexity of operating mobile networks.

Magma enables better connectivity by:

Allowing operators to expand capacity and reach by using LTE, 5G, Wi-Fi and CBRS. Allowing operators to offer cellular service without vendor lock-in with a modern, open source core network. Enabling operators to manage their networks more efficiently with more automation, less downtime, better predictability, and more agility to add new services and applications. Enabling federation between existing MNOs and new infrastructure providers to augment mobile network infrastructure more efficiently. Supporting open source 5G technology and incubating future wireless network use cases like Private 5G, IAB, Augmented Networks and NTN.

“Arm is synonymous with a diverse technology ecosystem that underpins the compute, connectivity, and security required for solutions spanning cloud to edge to endpoint devices,” said Chris Bergey, senior vice president and general manager, Infrastructure Line of Business, Arm. “Together with the Linux Foundation and Facebook Connectivity, Magma is helping to solve the very real challenge of providing feature-rich, cost effective access for worldwide mobile networks.”

“Bringing Magma to the Linux Foundation is a huge milestone as the Magma ecosystem of developers continues to grow,” said Dan Rabinovitsj, vice president for Facebook Connectivity. “We are excited to see the contributions and innovations from this collective group of industry players, and we look forward to celebrating Magma’s success as the project continues to scale.”

“Qualcomm Technologies strongly supports the evolution of the Magma core network efforts into a broader coalition among the key founding and contributing projects,” said Douglas Knisely, engineer, principal, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and OSA Advisory Board member. “This effort builds on the collaboration activities and code contributions from OAI into the Magma project and promotes the harmonization of a common 5G Core Network reference architecture, internal structure, APIs, and interfaces for all of the emerging 5G open source projects in the industry.”

“Magma is one of the most exciting projects I’ve seen in years. In our world, connectivity is directly linked to progress, and Magma’s mission to improve network access for the under-connected is inspiring and meaningful,” said Jonathan Bryce, Executive Director, Open Infrastructure Foundation. “The Open Infrastructure Foundation helps build communities like Magma who are writing the software that powers production infrastructure, and we look forward to working together to accelerate the growth of the Magma community, bringing Magma to new markets.”

“The OpenAirInterface Software Alliance (OSA) is excited at the prospect of seeing Magma deployed in a number of use cases in wireless networks. The OSA has accompanied the Magma development efforts since the very inception of the project by not only providing the base code from OpenAirInterface for some of the components of the 4G core network but also by regularly and constantly developing new features,” said Irfan Ghauri, Director of Operations at the OSA. “The OpenAirInterface community will continue to participate in the ongoing efforts at developing and testing functionality for Magma alongside other partners. We look forward to the great success this initiative is on track to accomplish in deployments in various wireless use-cases.

“We are excited to collaborate with our peers on a global cause of connectivity and open source software,” said Arpit Joshipura, GM Networking & Edge at the Linux Foundation. “Hosting this important project on behalf of the open source community allows us to bring open applications and network functions to end users.”

The Magma community will host a virtual Magma Developers Conference today beginning at 8:30am PT to highlight the growing community and how the platform enables service providers and systems integrators to deploy faster and more efficient networks. The schedule includes Magma use cases, a 5G demo, and other talks about the state of the project. Get involved with Magma by joining the project on Github.

About The Linux Foundation
The Linux Foundation is the organization of choice for the world’s top developers and companies to build ecosystems that accelerate open technology development and industry adoption. Together with the worldwide open source community, it is solving the hardest technology problems by creating the largest shared technology investment in history. Founded in 2000, The Linux Foundation today provides tools, training and events to scale any open source project, which together deliver an economic impact not achievable by any one company. More information can be found at www.linuxfoundation.org.

Media Contact
Jil Lovato
[email protected]
The Linux Foundation

SOURCE The Linux Foundation


Related Links

www.linuxfoundation.org

Atlas Ocean Voyages Named Approved Supplier Of Cruise Planners

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Feb. 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Atlas Ocean Voyages announced today that the luxe-adventure expedition cruise brand has been named an approved supplier of Cruise Planners, the nation’s largest home-based Travel Advisor franchise network and an American Express Travel Representative.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Feb. 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Atlas Ocean Voyages announced today that the luxe-adventure expedition cruise brand has been named an approved supplier of Cruise Planners, the nation’s largest home-based Travel Advisor franchise network and an American Express Travel Representative. Cruise Planners’ Travel Advisors can now recommend Atlas’ new and distinctive, once-in-a-lifetime experiences to clients seeking an all-inclusive, luxury adventure in remote, bucket-list destinations around the world. Launching in July 2021, Atlas’ first newly constructed, 196-guest, expedition ship, World Navigator, will bring travelers on transformative journeys to some of the world’s most coveted and off-the-beaten-path locales. For more information about Atlas Ocean Voyages, please visit www.AtlasOceanVoyages.com.

“Atlas Ocean Voyages is extremely pleased to be on Cruise Planners approved suppliers list since Cruise Planners Travel Advisors are tapped into the pulse of the market; are well-trained franchise owners; and have state-of-the-art sales tools,” said Brandon Townsley, Vice President of Sales and Trade Partnerships of the luxe-adventure cruise brand. “Cruise Planners’ award-winning Travel Advisors can recommend Atlas to clients who have seen it all and done it all. Atlas’ World Navigator will bring travelers on captivating luxe-adventure journeys for their highly anticipated return-to-cruise.”

“We are delighted to add Atlas Ocean Voyages to Cruise Planners’ rich portfolio of cruise vacation options,” said Michelle Fee, CEO and Founder of Cruise Planners. “We know there is a pent-up consumer demand for small ship and luxury travel options and our partnership with Atlas Ocean Voyages is another example of how we seek out the most distinctive and compelling travel experiences for our clients. We are confident our travel advisors will continue to provide savvy travelers with the best possible vacation options and love the unique destinations such as Ukraine, Bucharest, Egypt and The Holy Lands itineraries – to name a few.”

Atlas’ signature All Inclusive All The Way provides guests a complete and seamless experience by including complimentary round-trip air travel, a choice of a shore excursion at every port, prepaid gratuities, polar parkas, emergency medical evacuation insurance, premium wine and spirits, international beers and coffees, Wi-Fi, L’OCCITANE bath amenities, and regionally inspired gourmet dining. In every stateroom, guests enjoy binoculars to use on board, en suite coffee, tea and personalized bar service, and butler service in suites.

Atlas’ Plan With Confidence flexible travel policy provides travelers a 100 percent refund of deposited funds up to 91 days prior to sailing. Plus, they can change their reservation as many times as they want, up to 15 days before their voyages’ sail date. They can even change their destination and sail with Atlas in another part of the world or choose to cancel at least 15 days or more prior to the departure date and be assured of a 100 percent future cruise credit.

About Cruise Planners
Cruise Planners, the nation’s largest home-based travel advisor franchise network and an American Express Travel Representative, has more than 2,500 franchise owners who independently book vacations and travel experiences for their clients. Headquartered in Coral Springs, Fla., since 1994, Cruise Planners supports its network of franchise owners with innovative marketing, booking and technology tools, professional development and training with the industry’s top executives. Cruise Planners has been named the No. 1 travel franchise by Entrepreneur magazine for 18 consecutive years and was on the Inc. 5000 list as one of the fastest-growing private companies in America. Cruise Planners has achieved top producer status with every major cruise line, many land vendors and maintains a philanthropic drive earning an International Franchise Association FranTech Award for innovation and Magellan Awards from Travel Weekly. Please visit http://www.cruiseplanners.com, for more information.

About Atlas Ocean Voyages
Atlas Ocean Voyages is a luxe-adventure expedition cruise brand designed for experienced and fun-seeking travelers to immerse in exciting and awe-inspiring moments in less-visited, bucket-list destinations. At 9,930 GRTs, World Navigator fosters a refined and convivial ambience for up to 196 guests and features the most-modern hygiene and cleanliness measures incorporated into her state-of-the-art design.

World Navigator is Ice Class 1B-certified and her construction is on schedule for delivery in July 2021. World Navigator will be joined by World Traveller and World Seeker in 2022 and World Adventurer and World Discoverer in 2023.

Atlas welcomes travelers to ‘come back to something new’ in the brand’s new marketing campaign “At Last… Atlas” (www.AtlasOceanVoyages.com/itstime.) Please also follow Atlas Ocean Voyages on Facebook (www.facebook.com/AtlasOceanVoyages), Twitter (www.twitter.com/atlascruises), Instagram (www.instagram.com/AtlasOceanVoyages), and LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/company/atlascruises). Travel Advisors can call 1.844.44.ATLAS (1.844.442.8527) to book their clients on an unforgettable luxe-adventure expedition.

SOURCE Atlas Ocean Voyages


Related Links

www.atlasoceanvoyages.com

OneClock Raises $250K in 24 hours for the Launch of its Modern Minimalist Timepiece on Kickstarter, Featuring AI-curated Compositions by Grammy-winning Artist Jon Natchez

BOULDER, Colo., Feb. 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — This week, OneClock (www.oneclock.co) launched a minimalist analog timepiece designed to gently lift you out of sleep with science-based musical compositions.

BOULDER, Colo., Feb. 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — This week, OneClock (www.oneclock.co) launched a minimalist analog timepiece designed to gently lift you out of sleep with science-based musical compositions. Conceived as a replacement for sleep-disrupting smartphones and clocks with jarring alarms, OneClock offers a simple, elegant solution for those wanting to get tech out of their bedroom and wake up better.

In under 24 hours, OneClock raised nearly $250k, smashing their initial goal of $20,000 on Kickstarter.

Continue Reading

OneClockOneClock

OneClockOneClock

OneClock is designed in Boulder, CO, and features a precision machined aluminum enclosure, solid wood front and back, and a low glare glass face. The clocks are built by hand in Denver, using high quality, long lasting parts, including a Swiss-designed stepper clock movement — technology borrowed from the automotive industry.

“We designed OneClock to be as much a piece of art as a functional household tool,” says Howie Rubin, co-founder and designer of OneClock. “In our current culture of Amazon/Walmart convenience, the approach we took was unorthodox. We prioritized design and quality over price to create something that’s enjoyable to experience amongst other cherished heirloom objects in your home.”

Featuring custom compositions by Grammy-award winning musician Jon Natchez (The War on Drugs), OneClock is designed to wake you gently and reliably. OneClock’s AI music generator randomizes and remixes songs stored on the clock’s solid state memory so that you never hear OneClock’s songs the same way twice. Ever.

Research has also shown a clear link between technology use before bed and compromised sleep that affects overall health and wellbeing. With no bluetooth, no WiFi, no apps, no snooze button and no connectivity, OneClock was purposefully designed to keep technology out of the bedroom and to promote healthy sleep habits.

Sleep researcher and OneClock team member Josiane Broussard, PhD, says “As a sleep scientist for the last 15+ years I can say that very little research focuses specifically on waking up and physiological changes associated with something that every single human does every single day. I was able to use the OneClock and absolutely love the design and the beautiful, calming music. I plan to put one in each of my inpatient sleep study suites in the lab.”

OneClock is available for preorder via Kickstarter.
Launch pricing will range from $192 – $279 (up to 45% off the $349 retail price).

Learn more about the team behind OneClock here. Listen to a sample of the tones used here. You can download images and information from the OneClock press kit, or reach out directly for sample requests.

Media Contact
Rhian Humphries
408-412-2957
[email protected]

SOURCE OneClock

The best Wi-Fi range extender in 2021 – CNET

If you’re still working or attending school from home due to the ongoing pandemic, you’re probably pushing your home’s Wi-Fi network to the maximum. And if you’ve set up your home office too far away from the router, you’ve likely learned the hard way that dead zones in particular can be a real pain.

If you’re still working or attending school from home due to the ongoing pandemic, you’re probably pushing your home’s Wi-Fi network to the maximum. And if you’ve set up your home office too far away from the router, you’ve likely learned the hard way that dead zones in particular can be a real pain. Luckily, a good Wi-Fi range extender can help.

The best Wi-Fi range extenders give your network a boost by receiving the wireless signal from your router and re-amplifying it farther out into your home. They’re simple to operate — just pick a good spot, plug it in and press the WPS button to sync it with your main router. In most cases, your wireless range extender doesn’t have to be the same brand as your router’s in order to work. There are plenty of options that are both solid and affordable.

Editors’ top picks
Subscribe to CNET Now for the day’s most interesting reviews, news stories and videos.

But don’t start thinking these things are interchangeable. I picked out some of the major manufacturers’ most popular, budget-friendly options and spent a few days testing out their wireless coverage. Most were underwhelming, which isn’t too shocking when you’re talking about a hunk of plastic that costs $30 or $40. One was an absolute standout, however, and strong enough for me to say that it’s the best pick for just about everybody. (Just note that I’m testing from home and working with a limited sample size of devices — once I’m able to test more, I’ll update this post accordingly.)


Best Wi-Fi range extender for almost everybody


TP-Link RE220 WiFi Extender

Ry Crist/CNET

At $35, the TP-Link RE220 was the least expensive range extender I tested, but that didn’t stop it from outperforming everything else I tested at every turn. It’s fast, it’s reliable, it works with just about every router out there, and it’s really easy to use. And, as of writing this, it costs even less than I paid for it — down to just $28.

Plug it in and press the WPS button to pair it with your home network, and it’ll begin broadcasting its own networks on the 2.4 and 5GHz bands. Both offered steady speeds throughout my entire home, including average download speeds on the 5GHz band of at least 75 megabits per second in every room I tested, along with strong upload speeds, too. The RE220 never once dropped my connection, and its speeds were consistent across multiple days of tests during both daytime and evening hours.

Nothing else I tested was able to match that level of performance, which makes the RE220 a steal at $28. All of that makes it a great choice for anyone looking to boost the signal to a back room that sits a bit too far beyond the router’s reach. Read more about improving your home’s Wi-Fi.


$28 at Amazon

Other extenders we tested

D-Link DAP-1620: This was the only range extender that ever managed to hit triple digits during my tests, with an average speed of 104Mbps in my bedroom during evening hours. Setup was just as simple as what I experienced with TP-Link, too. I was able to stream HD video, browse the web and make video calls on the extender’s network without any issue.

Network speeds were inconsistent though — and much slower in daytime hours, with a bigger dropoff than I saw with TP-Link. The device also dropped my connection at one point during my speed tests. The app was too finicky for my tastes, too, refusing to let me log in and tweak settings with the supplied device password, and ultimately forcing me to reset the device.

Software woes aside, the hardware seems pretty good with this range extender, and it has a dual external antenna setup. And since it’s not quite the newest model from D-Link, there’s a good chance you can find it on sale somewhere. One seller has it listed new on Amazon for about $40, but I wouldn’t spend more than $30 on it, given what the superior TP-Link RE220 costs.

Netgear WiFi Range ExtenderEX3700: It’s a dated-looking device, and it wasn’t a terribly strong performer in my tests. The 2.4GHz band was able to sustain workable speeds between 30 and 40Mbps throughout most of my home, which was strong enough to stream video with minimal buffering, or to hold a quick video call with a slight delay. But the 5GHz band was surprisingly weak, often dropping into single digits with only a single wall separating my PC or connected device from the range extender.

I wasn’t a fan of the web interface, either — it seemed more interested in getting me to register for the warranty (and opt into marketing emails) than in actually offering me any sort of control over the connection. There’s an app you can use instead, but it’s only available on Android devices. WPS button-based setup lets you skip all of that, which is nice — but still, with most outlets offering it for about $50, this is one you can safely skip.

Linksys RE6350: My speeds were consistent with the RE6350 — they just weren’t very fast.

By default, the device automatically steers you between the 2.4 and 5GHz bands, but with download speeds ranging from 10 to 35Mbps throughout all of my tests over multiple days, it might as well just default to the slower 2.4GHz band. The device supports automatic firmware upgrades, which is nice, but you can’t use the Linksys Wi-Fi app to tweak settings — instead, you’ll have to log in via the web portal.

On top of all that, the RE6350 seemed to be the least stable of all the extenders I tested, with more than one dropped connection during my tests. At about $50, that’s just too many negatives for me to recommend it.

How we tested them

Like lots of folks, I’m working from home these days, so I tested each range extender out on my home network, a 300Mbps AT&T fiber connection. My house is pretty small — just 1,300 square feet — but the router AT&T provided struggles to maintain a strong signal in the back of the house.

You can see the situation clear as day when you look at the average speeds in each part of the house. With my trusty laptop in hand, I moved from the living room where the router is located to the adjacent kitchen, then a hallway bathroom, then my bedroom, and finally, a bathroom in the very back of the house. In each room, I ran multiple speed tests and logged the results. Then, I repeated the process in reverse, connecting in the back bathroom and then working my way towards the living room. Finally, I repeated the whole process during evening hours and averaged everything together.

Sure enough, my average speeds plummeted in that back bathroom, the farthest room from the router. The overall average across all tests was about 60Mbps, but that’s overselling it. Upload speeds where typically in the single digits, and in most cases, my connection would drop after a few minutes in the room. In the worst of my four test runs, the average download speed in that back bathroom was just 15Mbps.

You’ll want a steady connection of at least 20Mbps in order to stream video and browse the web comfortably. Make that 50Mbps if you want to stream in 4K. Same goes for video calls, where you’ll also want sturdy upload speeds to match.

11 ways to make your Wi-Fi fasterSee all photos



+9 More

If that back bathroom were, say, a back office, I’d be miserable. That presented a clear mission for my test extenders. Which one would provide the biggest, steadiest boost to speeds in the back half of my home?

To find out, I plugged each range extender in one at a time and paired them with my router, connected my laptop to their extension networks, and repeated my speed tests. I placed them in the hall, halfway between the spots where I test in the hallway bathroom and the master bedroom, and close to the edge of where I’m able to get a strong signal from the router. A good range extender should be able to receive a solid signal from the router at that distance, then beam its signal out farther than the wireless network could originally extend.

In the end, each one was able to maintain my connection in that back bathroom without dropping me, but only TP-Link and D-Link were able to sustain upload and download speeds that were fast enough for full internet usage. TP-Link’s 5GHz band was the strongest overall, with an average back bathroom download speed of about 75Mbps and an average upload speed just above 50Mbps. I didn’t see much variance between test rounds, either, even between daytime testing and evening testing.

Speeds were strong throughout the rest of the house, as well, which suggests that the TP-Link RE220 offers the best range of the four, too. When I tried using the TP-Link range extender to make a FaceTime call, I was able to move throughout my entire house without seeing any dips in the call quality.

I’ll have a better sense of range once I’m able to resume full testing at our lab and at the 5,400-square-foot CNET Smart Home — but for now, all of that is enough for me to call the RE220 the clear winner here, especially considering that it’s the least expensive option I tested.

Other things to consider

Aside from my speed tests, I made sure to stream video in my bedroom on each extender’s network, and I made several video calls on each network, too. All four were serviceable, but the TP-Link RE220 was the only one that didn’t present any issues with my internet connection. My video was crisp and quick to load, and my video calls were clear as could be.

I also spent time playing with each extender’s settings. You shouldn’t expect much, but most will at least make it easy to change the extension network’s name or password. Some include app controls with extra features, too.

My top pick, the TP-Link RE220, makes it really easy to tweak settings via TP-Link’s Tether app on an Android or iOS device. Again, the features make for slim pickings, but you can check signal strength or turn on High-Speed Mode, which dedicates the 2.4GHz band for traffic from the router to the range extender, leaving the 5GHz free for your normal network traffic. That mode actually wasn’t as fast as sharing the 5GHz band like normal when I tested it out, because those incoming 2.4GHz speeds are limited, but it still might be a useful option in some setups.

As for setting a range extender up, you should know that it’s about as painless as it gets. Most, including all four that I tested, support Wi-Fi Protected Setup, or WPS, which is a universal protocol that wireless networking devices can use to connect with each other. Just plug the signal booster in, press the WPS button, and then press the WPS button on your router within two minutes.

It’s also worth making sure that your range extender includes at least one Ethernet jack. If you can connect your wired device (like a smart TV) directly to it, then you’ll enjoy speeds that are as fast as possible.

Should I just get a mesh router?

One last note: If you’re living in a large-sized home, or if you need speeds faster than 100Mbps at range, then it’s probably worth it to go ahead and upgrade to a mesh router that comes with its own range-extending satellite devices. You’ve got more options than ever these days, including our top overall pick, Google’s Nest Wifi, as well as three-piece mesh network setups from Eero, Netgear Orbi and TP-Link that cost $250 or less. Any of those would likely outperform a standalone router paired with a plug-in range extender like the ones tested here.

For instance, I had a three-piece TP-Link Deco M5 mesh router on hand, so I set it up and ran some speed tests alongside the range extenders. The connection wasn’t quite as steady as what I saw when I tested a similar three-piece Eero setup last year, but my average speeds stayed well above 100Mbps throughout my entire house, even in the back. Better still, I didn’t have multiple networks and extension networks to jump between. Everything was consolidated to a single mesh network. Simple!

Spend a little more on a mesh router, and you can find one that supports the newest, fastest Wi-Fi 6 speeds, or one with an additional 5GHz band that you can dedicate to traffic between the router and the extenders. In 2021, we’ll start seeing routers that support Wi-Fi 6E, which adds in exclusive access to the newly opened, ultra-wide 6GHz band. I’ve got lots of info on systems like those in my full mesh router rundown, so be sure to give options like those a look, too.

That said, if all you need is for your current router to maintain a steady signal one or two rooms farther into your home, then a simple range extender will probably do just fine — especially if you buy the right one. For my money, that’s the TP-Link RE220.

Read more:

Google Nest Wifi review
The 3 fastest VPNs we’ve tested: NordVPN, ExpressVPN and Surfshark compared

Ready to upgrade to a mesh router? You’ve got lots of new options in 2020See all photos



+18 More


Comments

Smart HomeWi-FiD-LinkNetgear

Notification on
Notification offNetworking

Comcast doubles speed for Internet Essentials – CNET

For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

Low-income subscribers to Comcast’s Internet Essentials broadband service will soon see their speeds double at no additional charge.

For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

Low-income subscribers to Comcast’s Internet Essentials broadband service will soon see their speeds double at no additional charge. The service, which currently offers 25Mbps downloads, will automatically be upgraded to 50Mbps starting March 1, the company said Tuesday.

Upload speeds will also go from 3Mbps to 5Mbps. The speed boost at no additional cost comes at a time when Americans across the country are still mostly relying on the internet to access school and work remotely.

Cut through the chatter
Subscribe to CNET’s Mobile newsletter for the latest phone news and reviews.

The Internet Essentials plan costs $9.95 per month and is available to qualifying low-income households. Families or individuals already receiving federal benefits through programs such as SNAP, Medicaid or WIC are eligible. This is the second time this year that Comcast has increased the speed of its low-cost service. It upgraded the service to 25Mbps from 15Mbps in March last year, just as most of the country was starting to shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The upgrades are part of Comcast’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, the company offered 60 days of its service free to college, elementary and high school students. It later extended the offer through June 30. The company also opened up its Wi-Fi hotspots free of charge. And in September it started the Lift Zone program to provide Wi-Fi access and educational resources to low-income areas.

Comcast started Internet Essentials in 2011 to help impoverished children who received free or reduced-price lunches at school get access to the internet at home. The program has been modified more than a dozen times to expand the eligibility requirements to include low-income veterans and people receiving public housing benefits. In 2019, the company opened up the program to all low-income households.

In addition to the low-cost monthly fee, Comcast partners with trusted community organizations to offer free digital-skills training. Customers can also purchase low-cost computers as part of the program.

Comcast’s initial response to the pandemic was part of a greater effort among more than 700 other wireless and broadband providers, including AT&T and Verizon. These providers all voluntarily signed on to the Federal Communications Commission’s Keep Americans Connected pledge. As part of this pledge, broadband and wireless companies promised to not charge late fees or disconnect service of customers who can’t pay their bills.

These companies then extended their pledge to June 30. At that time, Comcast also extended its offer of free Internet Essentials to qualifying households through the end of June. Though the free service offer ended in June, Comcast said it’s remained committed to helping low-income families during the pandemic stay online, with the hope of eventually eliminating the digital divide.

“We’ve been on a mission to address digital inequities in under-resourced communities through Internet Essentials for a decade and there’s never been a greater need than now,” Dave Watson, president and chief executive officer of Comcast Cable, said in a statement. “Our commitment has never been stronger, and we are dedicated to leveling the playing field and making a lasting impact for generations to come.”

CoronavirusComcast

Notification on
Notification offMobile