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Internet providers offer Wi-Fi hotspots, free access to people affected by COVID-19

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A pair of Internet providers are stepping up to help people staying away from work, or large crowds, because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Comcast is offering WiFi hotspots to anyone who needs them for free - including non-Xfinity Internet subscribers.

The Internet giant is also providing some relief for the next 60 days to customers who might face financial hardships as community events are canceled, and businesses close during the efforts to curb the infection rates for coronavirus disease 2019. So, for the next 60 days, Comcast is providing customers unlimited data for no additional charge. Comcast also says they won't disconnect Internet service or assess late fees if customers can't pay bills during that 60-day period.

Comcast says new customers will will receive 60 days of complimentary Internet Essentials service, which is normally available to all qualified low-income households for $9.95 a month.

TDS Telecommunications also announced plans for supporting customers during the pandemic. The company, in a written announcement released Monday, said it will provide broadband access to low-income individuals and/or families with children and college students for 60 days.-

“As a company, our first priority is the health and well-being of our employees, customers and the communities we serve,” said Drew Petersen, senior vice president of Corporate Affairs at TDS. “During this difficult time, we want to ensure those who cannot afford broadband services have the essential access they need.”

TDS also plans to forego late payment penalties, suspend disconnects for customers who fail to pay their bills, and open free Wi-Fi hotspots. For more information, TDS said customers should call 888-287-8156.

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Comcast said the locations and access information for those free hotspots can be found in a map on its website.

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