RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – With the pandemic still keeping many students and workers at home, Charter Communications is making internet access more widely available – and in some cases cheaper.

Charter is relaunching its offer of free internet and WiFi access to new customers through its Spectrum Internet brand in the Triangle. It’s also continuing to offer discounted broadband service to low-income households and seniors.

The free offer is for 60 days and includes speeds up to 200 megabits per second. Households with K-12th graders, college students and/or educators are eligible.

Launched earlier this year, the program has so far been utilized by 448,000 households, according to Charter.

To enroll, Spectrum says, new customers can call (844) 310-1198 and a “free self-installation kit will be provided.”

“The pandemic has prompted new focus on the technology divide and Charter is committed to being part of the comprehensive solution needed to close these gaps,” said Tom Rutledge, Charter Chairman and CEO, in a satement.

“This offer is the latest example of Charter’s ongoing commitment to improving access to broadband and helping to ease the strain of the pandemic in the communities we serve. From extending our network to rural areas to making high-speed broadband more accessible for low-income students and seniors through Spectrum Internet Assist, Charter provides a range of options that deliver critical connectivity to our customers.”

The Spectrum Internet Assist (SIA) program ($15 per month) for eligible low-income households and seniors includes a free internet modem, high-speed data at 30 Mbps, no data caps or contracts, and optional in-home WiFi service for an additional $5/mo.

“SIA is available to households in which one or more members are a recipient of assistance through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) of the NSLP, or Supplemental Security Income (for applicants age 65+),” Charter says.

The company says it will also offer two free months of Spectrum Internet Assist to eligible low-income households with students or an educator not already a Spectrum customer.