Former Comcast Employee Says The Company's Low-Income Wi-Fi Is Too Slow For Remote Learning
Education Technology

Former Comcast Employee Says The Company’s Low-Income Wi-Fi Is Too Slow For Remote Learning

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Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, a group of Baltimore-based students has argued Comcast’s low-income internet program, Internet Essentials, isn’t fast enough for remote learning.

A former Comcast employee not only agrees, but it was also one of the reasons he quit.

The cable giant has repeatedly defended its internet speeds in the program, which sells internet at $10 a month, saying it meets Federal Communications Commission (FCC) standards set for high-speed broadband. Former Comcast employee Chase Roper told BuzzFeed he left the company, in part, because of how difficult it was for him to tell Internet Essentials customers that the only way to get better internet from Comcast was to literally pay for it.

Roper explained in a Twitter thread nine tweets long why the company’s service “in almost every case, not an adequate speed for children to do their live ‘zoom’ online class work.”

“Many agents on the phone will tell customers that a tv/internet/landline bundle with a speed of 100mbps that costs less than an internet only speed of 600mbps will work just as perfect for your household when it won’t. B/c they’ll make triple the $$ on their paycheck,” Roper said in the thread.

A group of students in Baltimore has been going head-to-head with the cable giant for months to get them to increase their speeds, but Comcast has resisted increasing their speeds to an adequate level, saying its speeds are sufficient for “multiple concurrent video conferencing sessions.”

According to BuzzFeed, Comcast’s Internet Essentials package does meet minimum FCC requirements as programs such as Zoom require at least 1.5 Mbps upload and download.

Although a speed test showed residents receiving 24.7 download and 3.41 upload, they still had trouble video conferencing as they were constantly dealing with freezing images and being kicked out of rooms due to slow speeds.

It’s no secret that due to internet availability and affordability, Black American students are getting left behind, but they’re not the only ones. Latino and Native American students are also suffering as well as rural white students.

Earlier this year, a picture of two girls sitting outside a Taco Bell in California to use their free internet went viral and exposed the reality some families go through in making sure their kids have internet access for school work.


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