Comcast, AT&T, Charter, Verizon and dozens of other internet providers have pledged to keep customers connected even if they cannot pay their bills because of the disruptions caused by the coronavirus.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai unveiled a list of ISPs who have committed to keeping service active at least for the next 60 days. It also applies to small business customers.
“I don’t want any American consumers experiencing hardships because of the pandemic to lose connectivity,” Pai said in a statement.
The ISPs also will waive any late fees that customers incur, and have agreed to open Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them. The full list of companies who have made the pledge is here.
The FCC also has been in discussions with ISPs over network performance given that so many employees of companies are switching to telework scheduled, putting an extra strain on the system. That’s in addition to more Americans potentially staying at home and taking advantage of streaming entertainment options.
US Telecom, the trade association for major telecom companies, said in a letter to congressional leaders on Friday that so far they have “not observed time shifted traffic exceeding peak network capacity.” The group also said that providers have “not reported material congestion or internal latency issues.”