Following natural disasters and in times of national crisis, America’s private sector steps up to aid the states. We are proud of the herculean efforts of our private sector members, the CSG Leadership Circle and Associates, as we work together to combat COVID-19.
As millions of Americans adjust to a new normal of working at home as part of the social distancing measures implemented in most states, telecommunications companies are working to keep people connected to the internet and to each other.
Over 400 companies signed onto the Federal Communications Commission’s Keep Americans Connected Pledge. CSG Leadership Circle and Associates joined the effort including AT&T, Comcast, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. The Keep Americans Connected Pledge asks companies to 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; 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.
Beyond these commitments, CSG Associates are launching new features to help American workers and families while at home and providing some existing services for free during this time. These include:
AT&T has taken the following actions to assist with the COVID-19 crisis:
- Created new $10 million
Distance Learning & Family Connections Fund
- The new Distance Learning and Family Connections Fund gives parents, students and teachers tools they need for at-home learning. The fund also will provide resources to maintain meaningful connections and bonding opportunities for those isolated from family and friends.
- Launched new Command Centers
to support AT&T business customers
- To keep customers connected and compliment its product offers, AT&T launched six new Command Centers that are enabling the fast delivery of increased bandwidth, new circuits and unified communication services.
- Unlimited AT&T home internet
- All AT&T consumer home internet wireline customers, as well as Fixed Wireless Internet, can use unlimited internet data. Additionally, the compnay will continue to offer internet access for qualifying limited income households at $10 a month through its Access from AT&T program. AT&T expanded eligibility to Access from AT&T to households participating in the National School Lunch Program and Head Start. Additionally, the company will offer new Access from AT&T customers two months of free service.
- Serving those who serve
- AT&T is redirecting more resources to provide communication services and tools for first responders, health care professionals, educators and other essential customers. This additional support will help ensure these customers can continue providing critical support to the country and their communities, particularly to first responders using the FirstNet network.
For more information: https://www.att.com/
Comcast is taking steps to implement the following new policies for the next 60 days as well as other important initiatives:
- Xfinity WiFi free for everyone
- Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country will be available to anyone who needs them for free — including non-Xfinity Internet subscribers. For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, visit www.xfinity.com/wifi. Once at a hotspot, consumers should select the “xfinityifi” network name in the list of available hotspots, and then launch a browser.
- Pausing its data plans
- With so many people working and educating from home, Comcast is pausing its data plans for 60 days giving all customers Unlimited data for no additional charge.
- Internet Essentials free to new customers
- New customers will receive 60 days of complimentary Internet Essentials service, which is normally available to all qualified low-income households for $9.95/month. Additionally, for all new and existing Internet Essentials customers, the speed of the program’s Internet service was increased to 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream. That increase will go into effect for no additional fee and it will become the new base speed for the program going forward.
- News, information and educational content on X1 and Flex
- For those with school-age students at home, Comcast has created new educational collections for all grade levels in partnership with Common Sense Media. Just say “education” into your X1 or Flex voice remote. To help keep customers informed, Comcast also has created a collection of the most current news and information on Coronavirus. Just say “Coronavirus” into your X1 or Flex voice remote.
- 24×7 network monitoring
- Underpinning all of these efforts, Comcast’s technology and engineering teams will continue to work tirelessly to support our network operations. It engineers its network capacity to handle spikes and shifts in usage patterns and continuously test, monitor and enhance its systems and network to ensure they are ready to support customer usage. Comcast engineers and technicians staff its network operations centers 24/7 to ensure network performance and reliability. They are monitoring network usage and watching the load on the network both nationally and locally, and to date it is performing well.
For more information: https://corporate.comcast.com/
Sprint is doubling the 1Million Project’s data allotment from 10 GB to 20 GB per month through June 30, 2020. During the past three years, in partnership with 246 districts across 35 states, the 1Million Project Foundation has connected 350,000 high school students with 10 GB of free monthly high-speed wireless data and services.
For more information: http://www.1millionproject.org/
T-Mobile announced plans to extend support to communities impacted by COVID-19:
- Partnering with Feeding America, Shaw Education and YouTube through T-Mobile Tuesdays, a program that thanks customers with exclusive offers every Tuesday. For more information, download the T-Mobile Tuesdays app.
- The T-Mobile Foundation is contributing $100,000 to the COVID-19 Response Fund hosted by the Seattle Foundation, which will rapidly deploy resources to community-based organizations at the frontlines of the coronavirus outbreak in the greater Seattle and Puget Sound region.
- The T-Mobile Foundation is also offering a 2:1 match for employees who want to give additional funds to Feeding America or the CDC Foundation that supports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s critical health protection work.
All current T-Mobile customers on plans that currently have data are provided the unlimited connectivity. In addition, T-Mobile is executing the following efforts:
- All current T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers who have plans with data will have unlimited smartphone data for the next 60 days (excluding roaming).
- Providing T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers on smartphone plans with hotspot data an additional 20GB of mobile hotspot / tethering service for the next 60 days.
- Working with its Lifeline partners to provide customers extra free data up to 5GB of data per month over the next two months.
- Increasing the data allowance for free to schools and students using its EmpowerED digital learning programs to ensure each participant has access to at least 20GB of data per month for the next 60 days.
- Offering free international calling for all current T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers to landline(and in many cases mobile) numbers in many severely impacted countries.
- Supporting the FCC’s Keep Americans Connected Pledge focused on ensuring residential and small business customers with financial impacts do not lose service.
For more information:https://www.t-mobile.com/
Verizon is serving Americans on the following fronts:
- Free international calling to countries identified by the Centers for Disease Control as Level 3-impacted by the coronavirus effective March 18 through the end of April 2020. This is available to wireless postpaid consumer and small/medium business customers, and landline home phone customers. Unlimited calling will be included for mobile and landline calls, with the exception of Iran, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovenia provided 300 minutes of free calls per month. Effective March 16, wireless prepaid customers will also receive a total of 300 additional minutes to call Level 3 countries.
- Waiving activation fees on new lines of service and upgrade fees starting March 18. This applies to all purchases and service-only activations made through Verizon digital channels, such as verizonwireless.com and the My Verizon app.
For more information: https://www.verizonwireless.com/support/covid-19-faqs/
Associates in Action articles highlight CSG Associates’ philanthropic efforts and public-private partnerships throughout the states.