Spectrum offers free internet during coronavirus school closure

Spectrum’s parent company is Charter Communications
Spectrum’s parent company is Charter Communications

Parents who don’t have internet at home can get free broadband, including installation, from Spectrum for 60 days to help families impacted by the coronavirus, the company announced.

Spectrum parent company Charter announced that, starting Monday, they will offer free Spectrum broadband and wi-fi for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students.

To sign up, call (844) 488-8395. Spectrum serves all of southwest Ohio.

RELATED: Ohio’s schools may have to remain closed for rest of school year, DeWine says

Company spokesman Mike Pedelty said installation for most people includes equipment that can be shipped in the mail and set up by the customer. He said this will keep wait times for installation down, though they don’t have a solid estimate of how many people will sign up.

“We anticipate obviously a high demand on this so we’re going to stay on top of this and make sure we get to customers as quickly as possible,” he said.

The offer can be used for any service level up to 100 Mbps and is good only for people who aren’t currently customers.

“It’s really designed to help those students who don’t have service at home during this time when they’re going to have to be doing schoolwork,” he said.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine last week ordered all school buildings in the state to be closed to classroom instruction for at least the next three weeks.

RELATED: Coronavirus: Schools scramble to deliver meals, online lessons

Area school districts are all rushing to design remote teaching plans to allow students to continue their classes at home. Spectrum’s offer helps students who don’t have internet at home, though some people worry that many students still don’t have computers to connect to the internet.

“You won’t think everyone has a smartphone or whatnot but some of them don’t,” said Angela Worley, who runs a Facebook group for Dayton Public Schools parents called DPS Engaged Parents.

Schools are still working on ways to close that gap.

Spectrum is also making free all of its wi-fi hotspots in the community, some of which Pedelty said are in parks and publicly accessible places.

He said the company is confident its system can handle the additional usage without impacting service for current customers.

“We have every confidence in the world our network can handle whatever happens,” he said.