While tech companies search for ways to help amid the Coronavirus pandemic, networking is the main thing that many can deliver. In response, Internet companies are stepping up to ensure everybody remains linked. Nation's largest broadband providers, such as Comcast, Spectrum, and AT&T will offer free WiFi hotspots located in workplaces and outdoor locations around the country for everyone - even for those who don't or can't afford to subscribe to Internet plans. They are opening up their facilities to help alleviate the stresses on people during this pandemic.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a family of viruses, which can spread from person to person, according to the CDC. Coronavirus is thought to be first detected in December 2019 on a market for seafood in Wuhan, China. When anyone has coronavirus, the symptoms they can display include moderate to serious respiratory distress, cough, and breathing difficulties. There is no vaccine at the moment, however, there are a few safety precautions that could limit the spreading of this virus to a great extent.
Many businesses have taken a "Keep Americans Connected Promise" from the FCC, which tells them not to cancel service to any residential or small business consumer due to their failure to pay their bills due to disturbances
induced by the coronavirus pandemic; waives all late payments paid by any residential or small business consumer due to their economic circumstances, set up Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the US for people who needs them during this pandemic.
AT&T will not be ending coverage for any home cellular, wireless, or internet for home or small business users for the next 60 days due to the failure of payment. They will do the following as well:
- Cancel late payment penalties.
- Keep their Wi-Fi public hotspots accessible for anybody who wants them.
- The company will also provide unlimited broadband coverage and provide Internet connectivity for families of reduced income at $10 a month through the AT&T connectivity plan.
Spectrum Free Internet
Charter Communications is providing similar services during these times. Starting 16th March the company will be following as per below:
- Charter will provide 60 days free Spectrum internet and free spectrum Wi-Fi coverage to families with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have an internet connection by Spectrum up to 100 Mbps at any level of service. Moreover, Installation costs ($49.99) will be waived off for new households.
- Charter will work with school boards to ensure that these services are made available to local areas and help students learn online.
- Charter will continue to provide Spectrum Internet Assist to qualifying low-income families without school-age children, a low-cost broadband service offering speeds of 30 Mbps.
- It will open Spectrum Wi-Fi hotspots for public access around its footprint.
Charter believes offering internet access to people who need to work and study remotely would help curb the coronavirus pandemic.
The organization is expanding the Xfinity WiFi network and offering limitless bandwidth for free. Comcast is opening up the Xfinity WiFi network for anyone to help users remain linked to school and work, as well as Hotspots around the country will be accessible to everyone who wants it for free, even non-subscribers.
- Comcast is pausing service contract for 2 months for current subscribers, offering unrestricted coverage at no extra expense.
- Avoid late disconnections or late payment penalties for people contacting the organization if they cannot afford their bill during these times.
- New customers will be given ‘Internet Essentials’, an internet adoption plan for free.
- With no data limits, disconnections, or late payments, the hotspots will be open, and speeds will rise to 3 Mbps. This provides access to news and educational material for parents and pupils.
Sprint has also joined the ‘Keep Americans Connected Pledge’ and is opening up the network to its subscribers
- Will not cancel coverage if consumers can’t pay due to coronavirus issues
- Waive late payments due to economic disruptions triggered by the coronavirus pandemic
- From 3/17 onwards, subscribers with overseas long-distance contracts will enjoy free international roaming rates for the countries defined as level 3 by the CDC.
- Subscribers with limited service contracts will get unrestricted coverage for 2 months, beginning by 3/19.
- Each month consumers will be given an additional 20 GB of data.
- For 60 days, consumers having hotspot-enabled mobile handsets without the access of hotspot can get 20 GB a month at no additional cost.
This network provider already has several customers with unlimited calls, text and, internet and are still committed to double their efforts to keep their customers connected.
- Current customers of both Metro and T-Mobile, who have cellular contracts will have unrestricted internet data, excluding roaming.
- For the next 60 days, consumers of Metro and T-Mobile will be receiving an extra 20 GB of data hotspots/tethering coverage.
- Act with Lifeline partners to provide more mobile data for consumers up to 5 GB per month for the next two months
- Increase data allocation for free to schools and students for 2 months, ensuring at least 20 GB of data for everyone.
During these hard times, many companies have come forward in assisting network operations and are constantly evaluating, tracking, and improving networks and systems through technology and engineering teams to ensure coverage during this time of heavy shelter-at-home usage.