Here’s What Carriers Are Doing to Keep Us Connected

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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Wednesday commended carriers and broadband providers that have responded to his call to take the Keep Americans Connected Pledge and have gone even further to enhance Americans’ connectivity during the coronavirus pandemic. Last week, Pai asked companies with low-income broadband programs to expand and improve them and those without to adopt such programs. He also urged providers to relax their data caps and promote remote learning and telehealth.  

“I want to thank broadband and telephone service providers who have answered my call to take aggressive steps to help consumers during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Pai. “I welcome their hard work in finding ways to meet their customers’ changing needs and to keep Americans connected.”  

Pai noted companies have increased speeds for low-income customers, lifted data caps, and offered 60 days of free service for new low-income customers and students. “I welcome these initiatives, hope even more companies will follow suit, and look forward to continuing to work together with the private sector to help consumers get through the disruptions caused by the pandemic,” said Pai. 

Companies taking additional steps at no extra cost to consumers include, but are not limited to:

  • ALLO Communications: Offering 50 Mbps broadband service for free for 60 days to households without internet service, reducing fees for 60 days for existing and new broadband customers in need, and waiving service modification fees for businesses and residences. 
  • Altice USA (Optimum and Suddenlink): Offering 30 Mbps broadband service for free for 60 days to households that have K-12 and/or college students who may be displaced by school closures and do not currently have home broadband. 
  • AT&T: Providing all consumer home internet wireline customers, as well as fixed wireless internet customers, with unlimited internet data, and funding an eLearning coalition to provide free resources to educators. 
  • BEK Communications: Doubling internet speeds for all customers at no additional charge, offering broadband service for free for four months to new customers with telehealth, education, and work-from-home needs.
  • C Spire: Offering free wireless data to K-12 students for educational purposes. 
  • CableONE/Sparklight: Offering unlimited data on all broadband services for 30 days. 
  • CenturyLink: Suspending data usage limits. 
  • Charter (Spectrum): Offering up to 100 Mbps broadband service for free for 60 days to new households with K-12 and/or college students and waiving installation fees for such households. 
  • Comcast (Xfinity): Increasing broadband speeds for Internet Essentials (low-income) customers from 15 Mbps to 25 Mbps, offering broadband service for free for 60 days to new Internet Essentials customers, and offering all customers unlimited data for 60 days. 
  • Cox: Increasing broadband speeds for Connect2Compete (low-income) and certain other customers up to 50 Mbps temporarily, offering broadband service for free for 30 days to new Connect2Compete customers and fast-tracking the qualification process, and offering remote desktop support for free to Connect2Compete and certain other customers.
  • GeoLinks: Increasing broadband speeds for customers who are working remotely. 
  • Hotwire Communications: Offering free 100 Mbps broadband for two months to new customers that are students or in low-income households.
  • Mediacom: Increasing broadband speeds for Connect2Compete (low-income) customers from 10 Mbps to 25 Mbps, offering broadband service for free for 60 days to new Connect2Compete customers; reducing prices for 60 Mbps broadband service for new customers, and suspending data usage limits through May 15.
  • Nelson Cable: Increasing broadband speeds for customers that need it for distance learning, telecommuting, or telemedicine, and offering 50 Mbps broadband service for free through June 30 to new customers in need. 
  • Ninestar Connect: Increasing broadband speeds up to 1 Gbps through April 10 for customers on fiber. 
  • Socket Telecom: Increasing broadband speeds to 1 Gbps for 60 days for residential customers on fiber. 
  • Starry: Offering free 30 Mbps broadband service through the end of May for both new and existing customers in affordable housing. 
  • Sprint: Offering unlimited smartphone data and additional mobile hotspot data for 60 days, increasing data usage limits for high school students without home internet that are supported by the 1Million Project Foundation, and accelerating the delivery of 100,000 devices originally intended for next school year to those students. 
  • T-Mobile: Offering unlimited smartphone data and additional mobile hotspot data for 60 days, providing additional free data to Lifeline partners’ customers, increasing data usage limits for schools and students using EmpowerED digital learning programs, and offering free international calling to COVID19 impacted countries. 
  • Verizon: Tripling the data usage limit for students in Title I schools that are part of the Verizon Innovative Learning Program and committing an additional $10 million to nonprofits supporting students and first responders. 
  • Washington Broadband: Increasing broadband speeds for student customers and offering broadband service for free to students who cannot afford it and small business owners who have had to close their businesses.

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