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Tier One Broadband Providers Update on Coronavirus Response

Elijah Labby

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Photo of Verizon by Mike Mozart used with permission

May 6, 2020 – Three broadband providers gave an update on their response to the coronavirus pandemic in a Wednesday webinar hosted by Associate Editor of Broadband Communities Sean Buckley.

Representatives from Verizon, Comcast and AT&T detailed their approach to increased network usage in multiple-dwelling unit housing. Additionally, they discussed customer service strategies in the wake of the coronavirus. Each provider noted a drastic increase in broadband usage since the country went into lockdown.

Verizon Mid-Atlantic Director of Sales & Marketing Katelyn Buckley reported that the company had successfully transitioned the bulk of its 75 thousand employees to a work-from-home model, increased data caps and waived late fees for consumers and small businesses.

Additionally, Buckley said, Verizon donated $50 million to coronavirus relief efforts and orchestrated several entertainment events, including the Global Citizen #TogetherAtHome Concert.

“At Verizon, we’re looking at decisive balanced strategies to keep your residents connected and the world moving forward,” Buckley said.

Dave Spence of Comcast's XFINITY Communities reported that Comcast had also provided work-from-home tools for employees.

Comcast rolled out complimentary internet accommodations in addition to their existing budget options for low-income Americans, Spence said, as well as committing $500 million for continued pay and benefits where work has been interrupted.

Additionally, Comcast has also released new entertainment options for consumers, such as NBCUniversal's Peacock, at no additional cost.

As part of the Keep Americans Connected pledge pushed by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, each of these major internet service providers have voluntary agreed not to disconnect broadband customers for non-payment until June 30, 2020.

Vice President of AT&T Connected Communities Eric Small said that besides waiving all data overage fees for home internet usage and offering two months of free broadband access to select customers, AT&T is offering a 20 percent hourly bonus to bargained-for employees and 50 percent off six months of service for first responders.

The company is also offering self-install television service through AT&T.

“We're basically sending the customer their gateway,” said Small. “They can get service the next day and not have a technician show up in their house, and so [it’s] just a really amazing uptake on self-install.”

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