Broadband Providers Pledge to Not Cancel Service During Coronavirus Outbreak

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Will Netflix and Disney+ be enough to keep us all calm?

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The FCC officially launched the Keep Americans Connected Pledge on Friday, ensuring panicked Americans that no matter what happens during the current coronavirus outbreak, their broadband and/or telephone service will not be disconnected even for unpaid bills. The full text of the Keep Americans Connected Pledge was posted to the FCC’s website.

The pledge is aimed at ensuring Americans stay connected to vital sources of communication and information while America is impacted by the spread of coronavirus. Many of the nation’s largest telecom providers have signed the pledge, including Comcast, AT&T, Charter, Verizon and Cox. The pledge lasts 60 days specifically calls for broadband and telephone providers 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;
  3. open its Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement issued Friday that Americans need uninterrupted connection to the today’s internet-based information economy “As the coronavirus outbreak spreads and causes a series of disruptions to the economic, educational, medical, and civic life of our country, it is imperative that Americans stay connected,” Pai said. “That’s why I’m asking all broadband and telephone service providers to take the Keep Americans Connected Pledge. I don’t want any American consumers experiencing hardships because of the pandemic to lose connectivity.”

Already, financial analysts have been making predictions about how the spread of coronavirus could affect the streaming video industry. While it’s true that with some households might increase their viewing time while being isolated at home, it could also be that the strain of disruption to our daily lives could affect viewing habits in unforeseen ways. Will Netflix and Disney+ be enough to keep us all calm?

Don’t miss our guide on how to get internet without a cable contract here.

By Brett Bowen

Brett Bowen is a writer from North Carolina. Brett most often writes about the intersections of science and technology and culture. You can reach him at [email protected]

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