The US’ telecoms regulatory body, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has extended its Keep America Connected initiative through to the end of June, according to a statement by its chairman.
A central pillar of the Keep America Connected initiative is the idea that telcos should not disconnect any customers from services due to non payment of bills during the Coronavirus outbreak.
FCC chairman Ajit Pai said that the move was necessary to ensure that millions of Americans retained access to connectivity during the current Covid 19 pandemic.
As part of the initiative, US telcos agreed not to 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; to waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic; and to open their Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them.
“Hundreds of providers have stepped up to the plate to keep Americans connected to communications services in this time of need,” said Chairman Pai. “This includes the largest and some of the smallest providers across the country. I salute them for making broadband available to Americans who increasingly rely on it for work, school, healthcare, and communicating with loved ones. And given our nation’s current situation, I’m urging these companies to extend these important offerings—uninterrupted service, waiving of late fees, and continued availability of Wi-Fi hotspots—until June 30. Companies representing the vast majority of broadband and telephone subscriptions have already agreed to this extension. I thank them for stepping up to the plate once again during this national emergency, and I encourage others to do so as well,” said chairman Pai.