The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has taken steps to help ensure that all Americans can continue to take advantage of wireless and online connectivity services during the COVID-19 pandemic, regardless of financial considerations.
In a press release issued on March 13th, the FCC announced the launch of Chairman Ajit Pai’s “Keep Americans Connected” Pledge. The Pledge asks that, for the next 60 days, U.S. telecom and online service providers:
- Not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic;
- Waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic; and
- Open its Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them.
The FCC say that, within 24 hours, nearly 100 service providers had signed the pledge.
Separately, according to the press release, Pai has called on broadband providers to relax data cap policies in certain circumstances, on telephone carriers to waive long-distance and overage fees, on those serving schools and libraries to support remote learning programs, and on all network operators to prioritize the connectivity needs of hospitals and healthcare centers.