FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai, has called on broadband and telephone service providers to maintain connectivity for Americans experiencing disruptions caused by the coronavirus epidemic, asking them to take the "Keep Americans Connected Pledge."
The response from service providers across the nation has been resoundingly positive. More than 550 service providers have taken the pledge. A number of major providers have created web pages with information and resources to help consumers during the pandemic. Companies that are 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, offering free data plans for certain school-issued tablets for 60 days, waiving wireless voice and data overage fees for all customers, expanding eligibility for its low-income Internet program and offering new program participants two free months of service, and creating a $10 million fund to support distance learning.
- Atlantic Broadband: Introducing a new low-cost broadband plan for new customers that is free for the first two months.
- 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. (Download PDF)
- C Spire: Offering free wireless data to K-12 students for educational purposes.
- CableONE/Sparklight: Introducing a new low-cost broadband plan for low-income consumers for 60 days and allowing unlimited data on all Internet 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.
- Claro (in Spanish): Eliminating data caps in wireless plans, increasing capacity of hotspots, and increasing data allotment for Lifeline customers.
- 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.
- Comporium: Offering 60 days of free broadband service to households with students that don’t currently have broadband and waiving installation fees.
- 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.
- GCI: Upgrading broadband plans for existing customers and offering free entry-level plans for new customers through the end of May, including free Wi-Fi equipment for new customers who are students or teachers.
- Hotwire Communications: Offering free 100 Mbps broadband for two months to new customers that are students or in low-income households. (Download PDF)
- Hughes: Raising data caps and prioritizing educational services.
- 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; introducing new low-cost smartphone plans; reducing prices for hotspot devices and doubling the data allotment for those devices; 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.
- TDS Telecom: Offering free broadband to new customers who are low-income and/or families with children or college students for the next 60 days.
- 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, offering $15/mo pay-as-you-go plan with 2GB of data, offering free international calling to COVID-19 impacted countries, introducing new low-cost smartphone plans, and reducing prices for hotspot devices and doubling the data allotment for those devices.
- Vast Broadband: Offering free broadband for two months for Black Hills State University students who don’t currently have home Internet.
- Verizon: Automatically adding 15GB of high speed data for wireless consumers and small businesses, and no data caps for DSL and FIOS broadband internet plans, providing two months of free broadband and voice service for current Lifeline customers, introducing a new broadband option for low-income households, increasing high-speed data allotments for existing wireless customers, waiving activation fees on new wireless lines, providing free international calling to COVID19-impacted countries, 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.
- Windstream: Offering two months of free service and waived activation fees for new low-income customers.
The FCC has temporarily waived Lifeline usage requirements and general de-enrollment procedures until May 29, 2020. An FCC order, released on March 30, will help ensure that no current Lifeline subscribers are involuntarily removed from the Lifeline program during this time of national crisis. The order also extended a recent waiver of the program's recertification and reverification requirements to May 29, 2020, and directed the Lifeline program administrator to pause any involuntary de-enrollment of existing subscribers until that date.
To learn more about other low cost broadband options visit everyone.org.
Chairman Pai also thanked television and radio broadcasters for their efforts to educate the American people about the coronavirus pandemic, including the National Association of Broadcasters for making available a Coronavirus Response Toolkit with coronavirus-related public service announcements in English and Spanish. The Chairman also asked broadcasters to work with cable and satellite operators to avoid service disruptions during the next 60 days.