Dozens of large and small internet service providers have signed on to a pledge issued by the Federal Communications Commission to keep users connected during the coronavirus pandemic.
FCC chairman Ajit Pai reached out to multiple broadband and telephone service companies on Thursday asking them to sign the pledge. The pledge requires companies 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 emphasized that it is important to give Americans the tools they need to “take part in the ‘social distancing’ that will be so critical to limiting the spread of this novel coronavirus.”
While not part of the terms of the pledge, Chairman Pai also urged companies with low-income broadband programs to expand those programs, as well as for broadband and telephone providers to waive data caps and overage fees where appropriate.
As of Friday, over seventy companies and trade associations had signed on, including AT&T, Comcast, Cox Communications, Google, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. The terms of the pledge will be in force for the next sixty days.