Phone, broadband providers pledge to keep customers connected

Stacy Wescoe//March 19, 2020

Phone, broadband providers pledge to keep customers connected

Stacy Wescoe//March 19, 2020

For the next 60 days, Service Electric of Allentown will open Wi-Fi hotspots to all who need them, and will not terminate services to residential or small business customers who can’t pay their bills due to complications from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company has joined the Federal Communications Commission’s Keep America Connected Pledge, which asks U.S. telephone and broadband service providers to keep users connected during this period.

Hundreds of communications providers have already agreed to the pledge, including RCN, Verizon and Comcast, which provide services locally.

The pledge asks providers for the next 60 days to:

  • Not terminate service to any residential or small business due to the inability to pay their bill.
  • Waive late fees that residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstance related to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Open its Wi-Fi hotspots to everyone.

Additionally, SECTV said it will offer free broadband modems to qualifying customers during this ongoing national emergency.

Many national wireless phone companies have also taken the pledge.

“As the coronavirus outbreak spreads and causes a series of disruptions to the economic, educational, medical, and civic life of our country, it is imperative that Americans stay connected. Broadband will enable them to communicate with their loved ones and doctors, telework, ensure their children can engage in remote learning, and—importantly—take part in the ‘social distancing’ that will be so critical to limiting the spread of this novel coronavirus,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

Chairman Pai also continued the FCC’s ongoing discussions with service providers regarding their efforts to ensure that changes in usage patterns occurring during the pandemic do not impair network performance, as well as their plans to ensure network resiliency.