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  3. Internet Connectivity COVID-19 Response

Internet Connectivity COVID-19 Response

The Federal Communications Commission has emphasized the importance of keeping Americans connected as the country experiences serious disruptions caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

This guide is meant to serve as a collection of resources related to the availability of Internet and telecommunications services during the COVID-19 emergency.

Each of the following companies pledge 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.
  • Open its Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them.

Vermont ISPs

Cable Companies

Burlington Telecom 

  • Will not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their Internet or phone bill due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic
  • Does not apply late fees as a normal business practice
  • Has opened all Wi-Fi hotspots to any person who needs them
  • Worked with the Burlington School District and is offering free 25 Mbps symmetrical Internet access, a WiFi device and installation to any family with a serviceable address (normal installation) and with school-aged children who do not have home Internet, to promote and support remote learning
  • Considers all business customers to be small businesses and will not disconnect service under the Keep Americans Connected pledge

Charter

  • Charter will not disconnect service to small businesses (entities with 50 or less employees) because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Charter will not charge late fees for those customers facing difficult economic circumstances related to the pandemic.
  • Charter will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription and at any service level up to 100 Mbps. The installation fees will be waived for new student households.
  • Beginning March 13 and for 60 days Charter will significantly expand access to high speed broadband for households that include K-12 and college students, and we are working with school districts and public libraries on remote learning opportunities.
  • Charter will open its Wi-Fi hotspots across its footprint for public use. Map of Charter Wi-Fi hotspots

Comcast

  • Comcast will not disconnect a customer’s internet service or assess late fees if they contact us and let us know that they can’t pay their bills during this period.
  • Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country will be available to anyone who needs them for free – including non-Xfinity Internet subscribers. Map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots
  • Comcast is pausing data plans for 60 days giving all customers Unlimited data for no additional charge
  • Comcast’s Internet Essentials Free to New Customers for 60/days – 25/3 Mbps Broadband

Duncan Cable

  • No disconnections:    Duncan Telecommunications has extended all disconnections for nonpay from the normal 30 days past due to 60. I
  • Duncan Telecommunication’s  “Standard Broadband Service” includes 350 Gig of bandwidth per month, upgradeable to a Terabyte.  Duncan Telecommunication’s  FTTH does not have any data caps​

Southern Vermont Cable

  • ​Not performing any non-pay disconnection to any residential or business customers for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency
  • No data caps
  • Waiving internet upgrade fees for all as long as an equipment change is not required

Stowe Cable

  • Three Stowe hotspots are located along Main Street from the UPS store on South Main Street to the law offices of Stackpole and French on Maple Street. These hotspots give adequate coverage to the majority of downtown Stowe.
  • There is a Jeffersonville hot spot that can be accessed on Main Street and the majority of Church Street. There seems to be a dead spot from the Town Offices on Church Street to the intersection of Route 15 and Madonna Mobil.

Waitsfield/Champlain Valley Telecom

  • Is working with our local schools to ensure those who don’t currently have Internet access and Wi-Fi at their homes are connected at no cost
  • Has various locations where Community Wi-Fi is available to keep our communities connected.  Free Wi-Fi is available at these locations from a parked car.  Please remember to always practice social distancing while using the Community Wi-Fi to keep everyone in our community safe.
  • Will not terminate service to any residential or business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic
  • Is waiving any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic

Telephone/DSL/Fiber

  • ​Waiving late fees and will not terminate a residential or small business customer’s service for the next 60 days due to financial circumstances associated with COVID-19
  • Suspending data usage limits due to COVID-19
  • Will work with medium businesses with over 50 employees and large businesses impacted by COVID-19 on a case-by-case basis to best support their needs

Consolidated Communications

  • Two months of Free Home Internet Service to help, including free installation for households with students who are not currently Consolidated customers
  • Is willing to work with any business that reaches out to us who is experiencing a financial hardship caused by the coronavirus to keep them connected

EC Fiber

  • Will be doing no disconnects of service for businesses or residences through at least the month of April
  • Until further notice, ValleyNet, the non-profit company that designs, builds and operates the fiber-to-the-home network for ECFiber, will install internet to any serviceable address at no cost to families whose school-age children are eligible for WIC or Reduced/Free Lunch programs at school. The internet service will also be provided at no cost through at least the end of April or until school reconvenes if longer. The program will prioritize households with one or more children enrolled in grades 6-12, on roads where ECFiber is now or imminently about to be available.

FirstLight

  • Is voluntarily staying disconnections for business customers through April 30, 2020 during the State of Emergency

Franklin Telephone

  • ​No disconnections through 4-6-20
  • No increases in speed or capacity planned at this time but the company will be proactive if technically available
  • There are no data caps to remove
  • Wi-Fi Hotspot at the Haston Library & Franklin General Store. New Hot Spot soon to be deployed on Main Street.
  • There are no connection fees

Otelco (Shoreham Telephone) 

  • Is not disconnecting customers if the customer contacts Otelco to report that they are having financial distress because of COVID-19
  • ​Has no data caps (not currently) so there are none to remove
  • Is working on a program (hopefully to be announced on 3-20-20) to provide two months free DSL to families with students who qualify for free and reduced-price lunch programs

TDS (Northfield, Ludlow, and Perkinsville Telephone)

Vermont Telephone Company/VTel

  • Increased network speeds/capacity to Vermont high schools and hospitals
  • Demonstration project with 5G Internet service with BRS in Rutland

Cellular Carriers & Mobile Broadband

AT&T

  • Has committed to the Keep Americans Connected pledge and consumers and small business that can’t pay their bills because of the pandemic will not be terminated or assessed late fees. Small business customers are those who sign our AT&T Mobile Business Agreement and have at least one Corporate Responsibility User (CRU) account.
  • AT&T has suspended data caps for fixed internet service
  • AT&T will keep our public Wi-Fi hotspots open for any American who needs them
  • Offers a $10/month Access from AT&T program for qualifying low-income households. As of March 13, 2020, and for the next 60 days, AT&T will waive domestic wireless plan overage charges for data, voice or text for residential or small business wireless customers incurred because of economic hardship related to the coronavirus pandemic
  • AT&T World Connect Advantage – Business customers currently on or who purchase an AT&T World Connect Advantage package receive 50% off the current rate in a monthly bill credit (max $7.50/month)
  • Helping You Work and Learn Remotely – Businesses, universities, and schools can keep their teams and classrooms connected through conference calls and video conferencing with Cisco Webex Meetings with AT&T for 90 days, and seamlessly forward calls to both mobile and landline phones with AT&T IP Flexible Reach
  • Distance Learning – AT&T is underwriting expenses for a “one-stop” resource center to support eLearning Days from the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) available to all educators in schools to help them handle school closures and the increase in virtual learning due to COVID-19

Sprint

  • Providing Unlimited data for 60 days to customers with metered data plans (effective 3/18)
  • Giving 20 GB of free mobile hotspot use to customers with hotspot-capable devices (effective 3/18)
  • E-LEARNING INITITATIVE: Sprint’s 1Million Project Foundation, which supports 350,000 high school students who lack critical internet access at home, is working to accelerate receipt of more than 100,000 new devices intended for use next school year so that it can deploy them as soon as possible to respond to the new environment.

T-Mobile

  • All current T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile wireless customers who have cell phone plans with data will be granted unlimited smartphone data for the next 60 days (excluding roaming). They’ll also receive an additional 20 GB of mobile hot spot/tethering service for those two months.
  • The company is working to provide Lifeline low-income customers with up to 5 GB of free data per month over the next two months.
  • E-LEARNING INITIATIVE: T-Mobile is increasing the data allowance for free to schools and students using our EmpowerED digital learning programs to ensure each participant has access to at least 20 GB of data per month for the next 60 days.
  • T-Mobile will launch its budget Connect plan on March 25th. The prepaid package will deliver unlimited talk and text as well as 2GB of data for $15 per month (or 5GB for $25)

Verizon

  • Waiving overage charges and late fees to support customers who may be financially affected by the COVID-19 crisis
  • Adding 15GB of high speed data for wireless consumer and small business customers to be automatically applied with no customer action necessary
  • Announces two months waived internet and voice service charges for current Lifeline customers and new affordable internet option for low-income households
  • E-LEARNING INITIATIVE: Verizon announced support for relief efforts across communities impacted by the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic by tripling its monthly data allowance for its Verizon Innovative Learning schools and committing $10 million to nonprofits directed at supporting students and first responders
  • Verizon is committing $5 million to ensure students from low-income families have access to healthy meals while their schools are closed and another $5 million to support healthcare workers on the frontlines
  • Through 4-14-20, Q Link Wireless will be providing all current and new customers with FREE 5 GB high-speed data and Unlimited Talk and Text
  • ALL current Q Link Wireless customers who have plans with data will have 5 GB of Extra smartphone data and Unlimited Talk and Text until 4-14-20.

Updated on March 27, 2020

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