Telcos offer support amid COVID-19 pandemic
These companies will keep you connected during the COVID-19 outbreak
The global COVID-19 pandemic is reaching the point where companies worldwide are shutting down voluntarily and by law, schools are sending kids home for several weeks and there are rumblings of a 14-day lockdown in the U.S. In light of this uncertainty, some folks are concerned about telecommunications and their ability to remain connected.
Many fear their inability to pay their internet or cellphone bill because of illness or their workplace shutting down for an extended time will result in a disconnect. Over the past few days, the FCC has aimed to reduce these fears by launching the “Keep Americans Connected Pledge” that it asked telecommunications nationwide companies to join.
In the pledge, companies promise for 60 days to not disconnect accounts or charge late fees due to nonpayment caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. The pledge also includes opening public Wi-Fi hotspots for all Americans to use.
Numerous telecommunications companies have jumped on the keep-them-connected bandwagon.
Here are all the telecommunication companies that have taken the FCC’s “Keep Americans Connected Pledge” during this health scare:
- Allstream Business US
- Antietam Broadband
- Atlantic Broadband
- BOYCOM Vision
- Burlington Telecom
- Cable One
- Central Arkansas Telephone Cooperative
- Cincinnati Bell
- Citizens Connected
- Consolidated Communications
- Cox Communications
- Digital West
- East Ascension
- Telephone Company
- Education Networks of America
- Emery Telecom
- Farmers Telecommunications Cooperative
- Google Fiber
- Grande Communications
- Granite Telecommunications
- Great Plains Communications
- Hiawatha Broadband
- Hill Country
- IdeaTek Telcom
- Lafourche Telephone Company
- Lakeland Communications
- Long Lines Broadband
- Mammoth Networks/Visionary Broadband
- Ninestar Connect
- Northwest Fiber
- Orbitel Communications
- Pioneer Communications
- Premier Communications
- Range Telephone Cooperative
- Reserve Telephone Company
- Sacred Wind Communications
- Shawnee Communications
- Socket Telecom
- TDS Telecom
- TelNet Worldwide
- TracFone Wireless
- Uniti Fiber
- US Cellular
- Vast Broadband
- Vyve Broadband Investments
- Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom
- Wave Broadband
- West Telecom Services
- ZenFi Networks
Above and beyond
A few of the larger telecommunications companies have gone above and beyond the FCC’s pledge by offering special programs during this time of need. Here’s what these companies are also offering.
For the next 60 days, AT&T will offer unlimited internet data to all wireless and home internet customers.
Charter Communications, the parent company of Spectrum, will install free broadband and Wi-Fi in student households to facilitate online learning. The service will remain free for 60 days.
Comcast will support the public during the COVID-19 pandemic by offering low-income families its Internet Essentials package free for 60 days. It also increased the speed of this service from 15 Mbps download and 2 Mbps upload to 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload.
Sprint will support its customers by
- Offering unlimited data for all customers for 60 days, even those on metered plans.
- Providing 20 GB of free hotspot data for customers with hotspot-capable devices.
- Delivering free calls from the U.S. to any CDC-defined Level-3 countries to customers with long-distance plans.
- Offering access to T-Mobile network for additional service coverage.
T-Mobile is supporting its business and consumer customers by:
- Offering unlimited data to all T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile data customers for 60 days.
- Offering an additional 20 GB of mobile hotspot tethering for 60 days.
- Working with Lifeline partners to offer an extra 5 GB of data for the next two months
- Increasing the data allowance for free to schools and students using EmpowerED digital learning programs to ensure each participant has access to at least 20 GB of data per month for the next 60 days.
- Offering free international calling for ALL current T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers to CDC-defined Level 3 impacted countries.
Verizon will support remote education by tripling the data on its tablets and laptops within the Verizon Innovative Learning program.
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