Internet and wireless providers pledge to make it easier to access broadband amid coronavirus crisis

The Federal Communications Commission recently introduced a broadband and telecom industry measure called Keep Americans Connected pledge. The 60-day pledge, announced March 13, calls on telecom companies to help people remain connected amid the coronavirus outbreak. 

So far, virtually every major company in the U.S. broadband and telecom businesses, including those in Seattle, has committed to the pledge:

  • Not terminate service to residential or small business customers because of inability to pay bills due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Waive any late fees that residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic; and
  • Open Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them.

Carriers have also offered additional support. Here’s an overview:

AT&T  is waiving wireless overage charges for data, voice and text for residential or small business.

CenturyLink is suspending data usage limits.

Comcast paused data plans for 60 days giving all customers unlimited data for no additional charge. New customers that are qualified low-income households can receive 60 days of complimentary Internet Essentials service, which includes an internet speed increase to 25 Mbps for new and existing program customers.

Sprint is waiving activation and upgrade fees as well as offering free next-day shipping for upgrades and new phone orders. Customers with metered data plans will receive unlimited data per month for 60 days. Customers will also receive an additional 20GB of mobile hotspot data per month for 60 days at no extra cost.

T-Mobile is offering current customers with data plans unlimited smartphone data for 60 days (excluding roaming). Customers will also receive an additional 20GB of mobile hotspot/tethering service. The offer applies to T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers.

Verizon has introduced new affordable plans for low-income households, waived over-limit fees, and increased wireless customers’ data allowance by 15GB through April 30.

Wave is waiving internet data overage fees for customer charges incurred in March and April and increasing its Simply Internet low-income service speed to 18Mbps for all new and existing Seattle customers.

For more specific information on your service provider’s offerings, contact their customer service team or visit their website. Also, be sure to contact your service provider directly with any service issues or payment hardships related to COVID-19.