FCC’s ‘Keep Americans Connected Pledge’ is over. Now what?
For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronovirus epidemic, visit the WHO website.
The crisis continues to grow in the US, but many broadband and wireless customers who are struggling to pay their bills may have no use connecting with one of the promising service providers associated with the Federal Communications Commission and waiving late fees. is.
More than 750 broadband and wireless companies to waive late fees due to no service cuts and the FCC’s Keeps American Connected Pledge officially ending on Tuesday.
While many of the nation’s largest service providers say they will work on an individual basis with customers who are unable to pay their bills due to losing jobs during the COVID-19 crisis, they will no longer obey the pledge.
This comes at a time when COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by coronovirus.. According to John Hopkins University, with the country topping 40,000 new daily cases in recent times, a number of states in the US are seeing an upsurge in COVID-19 cases that monitor the spread of the virus. Some states, including Texas and Florida, have reopened the plan due to increasing numbers of new cases.
During thisAs a result of businesses closing due to the epidemic. In early June, it was reported that approximately 43 million people applied for unemployment in the US during April and May. This is roughly equivalent to one in four American workers. A survey by the Economic Policy Institute in April estimated the figure to be lower than the actual number of Americans out of work: millions more could have filed if the unemployment process had eased.
FCC President Ajit Pai soon recognized on the epidemic that economic stress due to historic job losses could leave millions of Americans without a connection to the Internet at a critical time when schools were closing and forcing students to learn online Were doing and employers needed workers from afar.
In March, Pai asked US wireless carriers and Internet service providers to pledge late fees and disconnects between the 60-day coronovirus epidemic. In April, he asked everyone who had pledged.
In addition to promising not to cut service to residential and small business customers who could not pay their bills, these carriers waived late fees due to the coronavirus epidemic and opened their own Wi-Fi hotspots for free Promised so that anyone could use them.
More than 750 service providers signed voluntary pledges. It is important to note that no company was forced to comply with any part of the pledge. And there have been complaints from some consumers, who say carriers are not alive to the pledge. Pai was asked about this in a May teleconference call with the House Energy and Commerce Committee. At the time, he acknowledged that the agency had received about 500 complaints about the program.
“It is my understanding that most of the complaints we receive about the pledge have been resolved to ensure that consumers stay connected during the epidemic,” Pai said.
The FCC declined CNET’s request for further comment on the complaints.
What will happen next?
In a letter to Congress on June 19, Pey expressed concern for Americans being unable to pay their bills even after the pledge was abolished. He said he asked not to remove consumers and small businesses who were behind their bills in July due to the coronovirus epidemic. And he said that he encouraged these companies to allow customers to extend the payment plan and postpone payment arrangements. He also called on providers to maintain and expand their plans for low-income families, and to have distance education initiatives for students.
Many carriers and broadband providers have complied with their requests.
Comcast Said that it would extend its 60-day free internet to low-income households through the Internet Essentials Program by the end of the year. It is also keeping public Xfinity WiFi hotspots open through the end of the year. The company has extended its offer of $ 150 Visa Card payments for college students through September 30. The company also said that customers who are not able to pay their bills will not be deducted on July 1 and plan to use it. A spokesperson said in the email, “working for customers in person” To find the best payment option for them and keep them connected.
Charter It has been told how this will help customers in the policy blog. It plans to “offer repayment assistance to work with our customers that match their needs and budgets, including qualified homes, our affordable low-income broadband service spectrum internet support.” The company said it would also waive outstanding balances for customers who “requested suspension of collection activities due to financial implications related to COVID.” There are also plans to continue its spectrum internet support program for low-income families and senior citizens. It will also provide one month free service to new small business customers.
“Companies will continue to offer expanded low-income support programs and are forming new partnerships with schools and other groups affected by the COVID-19 crisis,” said NCTA spokesman Brian Ditz, a cable industry lobbying group. “Therefore, while the government pledge may be sunset, our relationship and commitment to our customers will not.”
Verizon Said customers already signed up for the pledge will automatically be enrolled in the company’s Stay Connected repayment program to provide options to stay connected.
A spokesperson for the company said, “We will continue to work with customers and provide the best financial options available now.”
AT&T It will waive data overage fees for home-internet service through September 30.
But this exemption does not apply to data caps on DSLs and fixed wireless services.