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How Is Your Internet and Cable Provider Responding to COVID-19?

Below we explore how some of the top cable providers in the US are responding to COVID-19 with practices aimed at helping individuals stay safe and connected.

As the world navigates the uncertain waters of the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals and businesses alike are tasked with making sometimes daily adjustments to their “normal operations.” Businesses must consider how their usual, day-to-day activities might put their employees and customers at risk, and adjust what they focus on, and how. This is a situation that calls for quick, impactful changes guided by a commitment to protecting workers and the community at large. And in ways big and small, the cable industry has stepped up to the plate with modifications that look at everything through a protection-oriented lens.   
 
Below we explore how some of the top cable providers in the US are responding to COVID-19 with practices aimed at helping individuals stay safe and connected.

Comcast COVID-19 Response
  • Committed $500 million to supporting employees through continued pay and benefits where operations have been closed or impacted
  • Opening free Xfinity WiFi hotspots to the public
  • Offering unlimited data for 60 days
  • Waiving disconnections and late fees for Xfinity Internet and Xfinity Mobile customers who are unable to pay their bills at this time, and make Comcast aware of their circumstances
  • Making work from home options as widely available as possible
  • Updated their customer contact guidelines in accordance with guidance from public health authorities to include:
    • First making attempts to resolve issues from outside your home, contacting you via telephone while still on-site to verify the fix has worked
    • Installation equipment will be left at your front door with detailed activation instructions. While you are working on installation inside, a technician will provide necessary outside work to solidify your connection
    • When a technician entering your home is necessary, enhanced health and safety precautions will be followed. Technicians experiencing health issues will not be sent.
  • Providing thousands of hours of thoughtfully-curated, free educational resources for Xfinity video customers, supporting remote learning for K-12 students
  • Offering movies on demand the same day as their theatrical release
  • Providing additional free content to X1 video customers
  • Offering eligible new customers 60 free days of Internet Essentials service, the “nation’s largest, most comprehensive internet adoption program for low-income households”
  • Increased speeds for all customers
Spectrum COVID-19 Response COX COVID-19 Response
  • Service enhancements aimed at keeping customers connected, including increasing available bandwidth
  • COX will not terminate service for residential or small business customers who are unable pay for COVID-19 pandemic-related reasons
  • Additionally, those unable to pay due to COVID-19 related reasons will not incur any late fees
  • Simplified access to low-cost service options, including a no annual contract option
  • Suspension of data-overage fees
  • Automatically upgraded speeds of 50 Mbps for residential customers utilizing COX’s Starter, StraightUp Internet, and Connect2Compete packages
  • COX has opened their WiFi outdoor hotspots to help the public keep connected
  • Partnering with PCs for People to enable families to purchase refurbished computers at a discount
  • Ensuring digital equity for students without an internet connection through their Connect2Compete offering, which provides “the first two months free to new customers” for “families with school-aged children who are enrolled in low-income assistance programs”
  • COX technicians are currently not making home visits, but are available to support through an array of virtual options, including live video chats
  • COX Solutions stores are operating with reduced store hours
  • COX has partnered with local health providers to deliver coronavirus information throughout the pandemic
  • Offering local restaurants free television ads during the crisis to keep communities informed about takeout and delivery options, and updated hours of operation
 Optimum COVID-19 Response
  • Optimum has signed the “Keep Americans Connected Pledge,” which includes:
    • Opening free Emergency Optimum WiFi outdoor hotspots to the public
    • Waiving late fees for residents or small businesses unable to pay due to COVID-19
    • Not terminating services to residents or small businesses unable to pay due to COVID-19
  • Providing Free News12 to non-subscribers to ensure everyone has ready access to up-to-date information about their local community, including government press conferences and closures
  • Free Altice Advantage broadband service through the end of the 2019-2020 school year for any new household in their service area with students enrolled in K-12 and/or college who don’t have internet access due to school closures
  • Free additional entertainment options, including premium channel access, movies, the Science Channel, and Discovery Family, through 4/30/20 for current customers
SuddenLink COVID-19 Response
  • SuddenLink has signed the “Keep Americans Connected Pledge,” which includes:
    • Opening WiFi hotspots to the public
    • Waiving late fees for residents or small businesses unable to pay due to COVID-19
    • Not terminating services to residents or small businesses unable to pay due to COVID-19
  • Free Altice Advantage broadband service through the end of the 2019-2020 school year for any new household in their service area with students enrolled in K-12 and/or college who don’t have internet access due to school closures
  • Free additional entertainment options, including premium channel access, through 4/30/20 for current customers
Mediacom COVID-19 Response
  • Mediacom is supporting the “Keep Americans Connected Pledge,” which includes not disconnecting service, or assessing any late fees, for customers who call to inform the company that they are unable to pay their bill during this time
  • Increasing the speed of the low-cost internet program Mediacom Connect2Compete to 25 Mbps
    • “Qualifying families who subscribe before May 15, 2020, will receive 60 days of complimentary Mediacom Connect2Compete service”
  • Reducing the pricing for their Access Internet 60 broadband service from $29.99/month to $19.99/month for new customers for the next 12 months
  • Monthly data allowance pause across all Mediacom broadband service tiers
  • Complimentary access to all Mediacom Xtream Wi-Fi Hotspots for 60 days
Sparklight COVID-19 Response
  • Extending unlimited data on Internet plans through May 12, 2020 (no overage fees)
  • Joined other brands in the Cable One family in donating $300,000 to support COVID-19 relief
  • Offering a 60-day low-cost internet plan that provides 15 Mbps speeds for just $10 per month
  • Opening free WiFi hotspots to the public
  • Waiving late fees, and deferring payment, for 60 days for customers that are experiencing financial difficulties due to COVID-19
  • Closing offices, or adjusting hours, as required to follow state-mandated orders, and protect the health and safety of workers and the community.
    • Offices that remain open will practice recommended social distancing guidelines and an enhanced cleaning protocol for high-touch spaces
  • Work-from-home accommodations for parents whose children’s schools have closed, and any associates at a higher risk of contracting the virus
  • Prioritization of critical calls
  • In areas that are experiencing a community outbreak, or are under a state-mandated Shelter in Place orders, technicians are not entering residences. Where possible, customers are provided with self-installation kits.
Atlantic Broadband COVID-19 Response
  • Understanding that there will be increased connection demands throughout all hours of the day with more people spending their working and relaxation hours at home, Atlantic has invested heavily in their broadband network to accommodate these increased demands, with no data caps
  • Atlantic is giving top priority to maintaining their network and ensuring connectivity for their customers through “service-related appointments for homes and businesses”
  • At this time, Atlantic will not be terminating service for residential or small business customers experiencing an inability to pay as a result of COVID-19 related disruptions
  • Atlantic will also be waiving any late fees for residential or small business customers whose economic circumstances have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic
Fidelity Communications COVID-19 Response
  • Offering a 15 Mbps internet plan for $10/month to help low income families, seniors, and college students. Fidelity is not requiring any documentation to enroll in this plan
  • Opening free WiFi hotspots to help communities stay connected
  • For customers experiencing financial concerns due to COVID-19, Fidelity is waiving late fees and deferring payments for 60 days
  • Critical infrastructure support to ensure ongoing, “reliable service for local educators and health care professionals, including customers under federal rural healthcare and E-rate programs”
  • In conjunction with other brands in the Cable One family, donating $300,000 to support COVID-19 relief, including $150,000 to the Meals on Wheels America COVID-19 Response Fund, and an additional $150,000 to local food banks in markets they serve
GCI COVID-19 Response
  • GCI is offering free upgraded internet packages and expanded TV services for their existing customers
  • New GCI customers can take advantage of a free “No Worries Internet” plan through May 2020
  • Through May 31, 2020, students and teachers can learn together with free Internet plans aimed at helping them to share lessons and ideas, and maintain a strong sense of community
  • Many GCI stores are temporarily closed, or operating on adjusted hours
  • GCI is supporting the “Keep Americans Connected Pledge,” which includes:
    • Opening WiFi hotspots
    • Waiving late fees for residents or small businesses unable to pay due to COVID-19
    • Not terminating services to residents or small businesses unable to pay due to COVID-19
Vast Broadband COVID-19 Response
  • Stores are temporarily closed to walk-in customers until further notice, with a team ready to assist via phone, chat, email, and social media
  • Opened free Wi-Fi hotspots for customers and the public
  • Partnering with schools to ensure students with limited resources have the connectivity they need for remote learning
  • Continuing their commitment to affordable internet solutions with low-income internet programs
  • No data caps
  • Special arrangements can be made for individuals impacted by the pandemic; Vast will work with customers to ensure service is not interrupted
Armstrong COVID-19 Response
  • Armstrong has “contingency plans in place” so they can readily shift to key personnel working from their homes should it become necessary
  • They have enhanced their commitment to cleanliness and organization across the board, including their work centers, warehouses, and offices
  • Armstrong regularly updates their team across multiple training platforms with information focused on hygiene standards, sanitizing their work areas, and practicing effective social distancing
  • Employees are required to stay home if they’re experiencing particular health symptoms
  • Technicians are able to keep their in-home appointments, while adhering to sanitization basics during their service calls.
    • While Armstrong will do their best to minimize the necessity for in-home appointments, accomplishing as much problem-solving as possible through their Call Center agents, should a visit be necessary, safety to their employees and customers will remain a focus throughout every step of the service visit
MCTV COVID-19 Response
  • MCTV technicians are currently not entering customers’ homes until further notice
  • New service installation will be accomplished through self-installation kits for customers, with MCTV technicians and customer care associates available to assist with installation and troubleshooting via phone
  • Night drop boxes are available for customers who would typically visit an MCTV lobby to make payment; MCTV’s Stark and Wayne County front lobbies are closed at this time
Disclaimer: The information is provided for general information and educational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional advice.
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