As schools continue to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers and students will largely rely on online resources to teach and to learn. Children without reliable internet access will be at a notable disadvantage during this time.
Fortunately, internet service providers are finding a way to fill the gap to help kids across the United States receive remote educations.
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai announced the Keep Americans Connected Initiative to help ensure that Americans have phone and internet service available. Pai presented the Keep Americans Connected Pledge, which reads:
“Given the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on American society, [[Company Name]] pledges for the next 60 days 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.”
So far, nearly 400 companies and associations have signed the pledge. In addition, major internet service providers are offering free service, discounts and more for eligible families. For example:
- Comcast: The company is offering Internet Essentials as an affordable way for homes who receive public assistance to get online. The plan is available for about $10 per month. In addition, they are increasing speeds for all customers in response to emergency measures associated with the coronavirus, and new customers receive two months free.
- Charter/Spectrum: Charter Communications is offering free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 or college students at any service level up to 100 Mbps. Installation fees are also waived. This is only for homes that do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription.
- Mediacom: This ISP is upgrading its low-cost Connect2Compete internet program and offering 60 days of free service for qualifying families who subscribe before May 15.
- Suddenlink: New household with K-12 or college students who do not currently have home internet access can get free internet for 60 days.
Hopefully this pledge will help out a lot of families!