Keep Americans Connected logo

Keep Americans Connected Pledge

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the challenges that many Americans have faced, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced the Keep Americans Connected Initiative. In order to ensure that Americans do not lose their broadband or telephone connectivity as a result of these exceptional circumstances, he specifically asked broadband and telephone service providers, and trade associations, to take the Keep Americans Connected Pledge. So far, 800 companies and associations have signed the Chairman's pledge to Keep Americans Connected and have extended that commitment to June 30.

The Keep Americans Connected Pledge reads as follows:

Given the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on American society, [[Company Name]] pledges to:

  1. not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic;
  2. waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic; and
  3. open its Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them.

Chairman Pai has also urged companies with low-income broadband programs to expand and improve them and those without them to adopt such programs. He called on broadband providers to relax their data usage limits in appropriate circumstances and take steps to promote remote learning and telehealth. See the list of companies going above & beyond and additional steps they are taking.

More Ways the FCC is Keeping Americans Connected

  • COVID-19 Telehealth Program: On April 2, the FCC established a $200 million COVID-19 Telehealth Program to help health care providers provide connected care services to patients at their homes or mobile locations in response to the pandemic. Congress appropriated the funds as part of the CARES Act. The Program will provide immediate support to eligible health care providers responding to the pandemic by fully funding their telecommunications services, information services, and devices necessary to provide critical connected care services. To learn more about eligibility and to submit an application, visit fcc.gov/covid19telehealth.
  • Promoting Remote Learning with the Department of Education: The FCC and the Department of Education are working to promote the use of $16 billion in funding from the CARES Act’s Education Stabilization Fund for remote learning. Through the effort, the agencies will work with governors, states, and local school districts as they leverage funding to best help students learning from home during COVID-19. See our state-by-state webpage for information on service providers that have signed the Keep Americans Connected pledge and may be able to provide connectivity and devices to schools seeking to use CARES Act funding for remote learning.
  • Granting Providers Additional Spectrum to Support Increased Broadband Usage: The FCC has granted temporary authority to a number of wireless companies to use additional spectrum in order to ensure that they are able to meet their customers’ needs. It granted Special Temporary Authority to allow 33 wireless Internet service providers in rural communities as well as AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, Verizon, and others to use additional spectrum to help meet increased customer demand for broadband during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Connectivity on Tribal Reservations: The FCC granted access to 2.5 GHz spectrum for the A:SHIWI College & Career Readiness Center to provide broadband service to the Zuni tribe in New Mexico. The FCC has also granted an STA to the Navajo Nation to use unassigned spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band to provide wireless broadband service over its reservation, which is located within parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.

  • Helping Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands Stay Connected: The FCC granted AT&T temporary access to use additional spectrum to serve Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands during the pandemic. The Commission under Chairman Pai has placed a special emphasis on connectivity on the islands following the devastating storms that hit them in recent years.
  • Supporting Telehealth and Remote Learning by Waiving Gift Rules: The FCC waived gift rules in the Rural Health Care and E-Rate programs to make it easier for broadband providers to support telehealth and remote learning efforts during the pandemic. The waiver will allow healthcare providers, schools, and libraries to accept improved capacity, Wi-Fi hotspots, networking gear, or other equipment or services to support doctors and patients, teachers and students, and librarians and patrons during the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Increasing Rural Health Care Funding: The FCC adopted an Order to fully fund all eligible Rural Health Care Program services for the current funding year with an additional $42.19 million. This action will help ensure that healthcare providers have the resources they need to promote telehealth solutions for patients during this outbreak. In addition, a March 26 order took a number of actions to assist Program participants, including extending the application window until June 30, 2020, among other administrative deadlines.
  • Waiving Lifeline Program Rules to Help Low-Income Consumers: The FCC has taken action to help ensure that no current Lifeline subscribers are involuntarily removed from the Lifeline program during the coronavirus pandemic by waiving several rules that could otherwise result in de-enrollment of subscribers. The FCC has also waived Lifeline program rules to assist program participants potentially affected by the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic and aid community efforts to slow its spread.
  • Zoom and WebEx Regulatory Relief: The FCC issued a temporary waiver of its access arbitrage rules to Inteliquent, a telecommunications company that carries traffic for two of the nation’s largest conference calling providers, Zoom Video Communications and Cisco WebEx. The massive increase in conference calls made by consumers using Zoom and WebEx to work and attend classes from home during the COVID-19 pandemic would have likely resulted in Inteliquent being deemed an “access-stimulating” carrier under the FCC’s rules.
  • Enabling Interpreters to Work From Home to Maintain Services for Disability Community: The FCC granted Telecommunications Relay Service providers temporary waivers to better enable American Sign Language interpreters to work from home in order to maintain relay services during the current coronavirus pandemic for individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind, or have a speech disability.
  • Broadcasters Keeping America Informed: Chairman Pai thanked radio and television broadcasters for their tireless efforts during the coronavirus outbreak, including running public service announcements on social distancing, airing educational programming to help with distance learning, expanding COVID-19 reporting, and holding fundraisers to help those who have faced financial hardship due to the virus. Also, on a March 16 call with broadcasters, he asked broadcasters to work with cable and satellite operators to avoid service disruptions during the next 60 days.
  • Supporting Consumers: The FCC is working to keep Americans informed about the latest COVID-19 phone and text based scams. Learn more and hear scam audio. In addition, the FCC has issued a consumer alert that provides tips to consumers to help them optimize their home networks during the pandemic.
  • Incentive Auction Transition Guidance: On March 17, the FCC announced that it would provide broadcasters with appropriate flexibility to address disruptions and issued guidance for stations in Phase 9 of the post-Incentive Auction transition.
  • Addressing the Digital Divide with the Institute of Museum and Library Services: The FCC is working with the Institute of Museum and Library Services to promote the use of $50 million in CARES Act funding to help address the digital divide during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The agencies will team up to raise awareness of these funds among libraries and Tribal organizations, which can use them to increase broadband access in their communities. See our state-by-state webpage for information on service providers that have signed the Keep Americans Connected pledge and may be able to provide connectivity and devices to libraries and Tribal organizations seeking to use CARES Act funding.

Learn more about additional FCC efforts to address COVID-19 at fcc.gov/coronavirus.

Releases

June 3, 2020 - News Release
FCC Approves Ninth Set of COVID-19 Telehealth Program Applications

June 2, 2020 - News Release
FCC Boosts Wireless Broadband for Rural Kentucky

June 1, 2020 - Letter
FCC Partners with NARUC to Raise Lifeline Awareness During COVID-19

June 1, 2020 - News Release
FCC Streamlines Lifeline Process for Tribal Consumers

May 29, 2020 - News Release
FCC Grants Makah Tribe Spectrum Access for Broadband During Pandemic

May 28, 2020 - News Release
FCC Approves Eighth Set of COVID-19 Telehealth Program Applications

May 20, 2020 - News Release
FCC, FTC Demand Robocall-Enabling Service Providers Cut Off Scammers

May 20, 2020 - News Release
FCC Approves Seventh Set Of COVID-19 Telehealth Program Applications

May 14, 2020 - News Release
Broadband, Telephone Providers Extend Keep Americans Connected Pledge

May 14, 2020 - News Release
FCC Extends Temporary Waivers For Relay Services Rules During Pandemic

May 13, 2020 - News Release
FCC Approves Sixth Set of COVID-19 Telehealth Program Applications

May 6, 2020 - News Release
FCC Approves Fifth Set Of COVID-19 Telehealth Program Applications

May 4, 2020 - Order
FCC Makes It Easier for Companies to Rehire Laid Off Employees

May 4, 2020 - News Release
5.9 GHz Band Boosts Consumer Internet Access During Covid-19 Pandemic

April 30, 2020 - News Release
Chairman Pai Extends Keep Americans Connected Pledge Through June 30

April 29, 2020 - News Release
FCC Eases Lifeline Process for Unemployed Americans During Pandemic

April 29, 2020 - News Release
FCC Approves Fourth Set of COVID-19 Telehealth Program Applications

April 27, 2020 - News Release
FCC and U.S. Department of Education Promote Remote Education

April 23, 2020 - News Release
FCC Approves Third Set of COVID-19 Telehealth Program Applications

April 21, 2020 - News Release
FCC Approves Second Set of COVID-19 Telehealth Program Applications

April 21, 2020 - Public Notice
Waiver of the Red Light Rule for the COVID-19 Telehealth Program

April 17, 2020 - News Release
FCC Grants Navajo Nation Temporary Spectrum Access During Pandemic

April 17, 2020 - Speech
Chairman Pai Remarks on Regulation in Times of Pandemics

April 16, 2020 - News Release
FCC Approves First Set of COVID-19 Telehealth Program Applications

April 16, 2020 - Public Notice
FCC Tasks BDAC Working Group With Addressing COVID-19 Challenges

April 10, 2020 - News Release
FCC Grants NYC Fire Department Spectrum Access During Pandemic

April 10, 2020 - Public Notice
Public Safety Licensee Guidance on COVID-19 STA and Waiver Requests

April 10, 2020 - News Release
FCC Enables Rapid Cell Site Deployment for Wisconsin COVID-19 Facility

April 10, 2020 - News Release
FCC's COVID-19 Telehealth Program Application Portal Opens on Monday

April 9, 2020 - News Release
FCC Provides TV Stations Flexibility to Air Local Community Events

April 8, 2020 - Public Notice
Guidance on the COVID-19 Telehealth Program Application Process

April 6, 2020 - News Release
Chairman Pai Thanks Broadcasters for Their Response to COVID-19

April 2, 2020 - Report and Order
FCC Fights COVID-19 with $200M; Adopts Long-Term Connected Care Study

April 2, 2020 - News Release
Chmn Pai Hears Update from Broadband and Telephone Service Providers

April 1, 2020 - News Release
FCC Enables Rural Broadband Providers to Waive Consumer Fees

April 1, 2020 - News Release
FCC Extends Key E-Rate Program Deadlines Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

April 1, 2020 - Public Notice
WTB Issues STA and Waiver Filing Guide

March 30, 2020 - News Release
Chairman Pai Announces Plan for $200 Million COVID-19 Telehealth Program

March 30, 2020 - News Release
FCC Acts to Keep Lifeline Subscribers Connected During COVID-19

March 27, 2020 - News Release
Home Network Tips for the Coronavirus Pandemic

March 27, 2020 - News Release
FCC Ensures Americans Can Access Zoom and WebEx During COVID-19 Crisis

March 27, 2020 - News Release
FCC Grants WISPs Temporary 5.9 GHz Spectrum Access for Rural Broadband

March 26, 2020 - News Release
FCC Provides Relief for Rural Health Care Program Participants

March 25, 2020 - News Release
FCC's Keep Americans Connected Pledge Surpasses 500 Signatures

March 24, 2020 - Blog Post
Stepping Up to the Coronavirus Challenge - FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

March 20, 2020 - News Release
FCC Grants AT&T and Verizon Temporary Spectrum Access During Pandemic

March 20, 2020 - Consumer Advisory
FCC Warns of COVID-19 Robocall & Text Scams

March 19, 2020 - News Release
Chairman Pai Welcomes More Keep Americans Connected Pledge Signers

March 19, 2020 - News Release
FCC Grants Deadline Extension for Certain 3650-3700 MHz Licensees

March 18, 2020 - News Release
FCC Grants Verizon Temporary Spectrum Access During COVID-19 Pandemic

March 18, 2020 - News Release
FCC Acts to Support Telehealth & Remote Learning During Coronavirus

March 18, 2020 - Order
FCC Waives RHC and E-Rate Gift Rules Due to COVID-19

March 18, 2020 - News Release
FCC Chairman Thanks Companies Going Above and Beyond Pledge

March 17, 2020 - News Release
FCC Grants US Cellular Temporary Spectrum Access During Coronavirus

March 17, 2020 - News Release
FCC Waives Lifeline Rules to Help Keep Low-Income Consumers Connected

March 17, 2020 - News Release
Chairman Pai Commends Broadcasters' Coronavirus Response

March 17, 2020 - Public Notice
Guidance for Stations in Phase 9 of the Post-Incentive Auction

March 16, 2020 - News Release
More Providers Take Chairman Pai's Keep Americans Connected Pledge

March 16, 2020 - News Release
FCC Grants Flexibility to TRS Providers During Coronavirus

March 16, 2020 - Order
FCC Grants Temporary Waiver of Certain TRS Rules During Coronavirus

March 15, 2020 - News Release
FCC Grants T-Mobile Temporary Spectrum Access During Coronavirus

March 13, 2020 - News Release
Chairman Pai Welcomes Increase in Rural Health Care Funding

March 13, 2020 - Public Notice
WCB Extends E-Rate Application Filing Window for FY20 Due to COVID-19

March 13, 2020 - News Release
Chairman Pai Launches the Keep Americans Connected Pledge

 

 

Updated: 
Thursday, June 4, 2020