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Thread: Which Internet providers are lifting data caps during the coronavirus, and which aren't

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    Notice Which Internet providers are lifting data caps during the coronavirus, and which aren't

    By Mark Hachman, Senior Editor - PCWorld




    As American businesses are forced to shut down because of COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus), customers are anxious about their bill for Internet access. Data caps, an annoyance in the best of times, suddenly can mean paying additional fees if a family sheltering in place goes over their limit.

    Think of it: you're working from home, videoconferencing over Skype or Zoom, while your kids are playing games and chatting with friends. There's streamed movies to watch in the evenings. Disney+ and Netflix may be in constant rotation, adding to the bandwidth strain. That's a lot of data!

    In response, some ISPs and cellular service providers are providing relief for customers. Some are merely adhering to the FCC’s Keep Americans Connected Pledge (PDF), which asks the signees not to terminate a customer’s service for non-payment. Others are removing data caps and lowering bills in response to COVID-19.

    And others, as you will see in our list below, are doing nothing at all.

    AT&T
    All AT&T home Internet Wireline customers, as well as Fixed Wireless Internet customers, can use unlimited data. AT&T will continue to offer $10/mo Access from AT&T service for qualifying customers. For the next 60 days, AT&T also pledged not to terminate the service of any customer who can’t pay their bill, and will waive the fees associated with late payments. AT&T will keep its public Wi-Fi hotspots open to everyone.

    CenturyLink
    Beyond pledging to be “firm in our resolve to be there for our customers,” CenturyLink has announced no actions in response to the coronavirus.

    Consolidated Communications
    Consolidated has posted a coronavirus response page that doesn’t go beyond a statement to “focus on ensuring stability of services and network performance for our customers.”

    Comcast
    On March 13, Comcast said that it would pause enforcement of its data caps for 60 days, essentially giving all of its customers unlimited data for that period. (Comcast normally gives its Xfinity customers two “grace” months for every 12, allowing them to exceed their data cap without penalty.) New subscribers to Comcast’s $9.95/month Internet Essentials plan will receive two months free, and speeds were increased to 25Mbps down and 3Mbps up.

    Comcast is also making its Xfinity WiFi service free for everyone, regardless of whether you’re a Comcast subscriber or not. (Here’s a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots.)

    Cox
    Cox said on March 16 that it is eliminating data usage overages for the next 60 days. Customers with a 500GB or existing Unlimited plan will receive credits. New subscribers to the Cox Starter Internet plan will be able to sign up without an annual contract and receive 50Mbps download speeds. Cox previously said that it would not terminate service for any residential or small business customers, and would open its Cox WiFi hotspot network to keep the public connected.

    Cox is offering free support calls and the first month free to its low-cost Internet service, Connect2Compete. Customers on its Essential plan will see their speeds increased from 30Mbps to 50Mbps.

    Charter (Spectrum)
    Charter Communications’ Spectrum services does not have data caps. Charter said that it will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi for 60 days if that household has K-12 students or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription. Charter said it will open its Wi-Fi hotspots for public use.

    Earthlink
    Earthlink hasn’t announced any relief, though it does not offer data caps on its residential service.

    Frontier Communications
    At press time, Frontier has not announced any relief for customers affected by the coronavirus.

    Mediacom Communications
    Mediacom has paused monthly data allowances through May 15 across all broadband service tiers, it said on March 16. New customers who sign up for Mediacom’s Access Internet 60 broadband service can do so for $19.99/mo for 12 months, rather than $29.99/mo. Mediacom’s Connect2Compete service is raising its speeds from 10Mbps down/1Mbps up to 25Mbps down/3Mbps up. It has also made its Wi-Fi hotspot network publicly accessible, for free, for 60 days. For the next 60 days, Mediacom will not disconnect service or assess late fees to any customer who calls and informs the company that they cannot pay their bill.

    Sparklight (formerly Cable One)
    Sparklight said on March 13 that it would make unlimited data available on all Internet plans for 30 days, while waiving late fees for 60 days. Customers who call the company can also negotiate deferrals of their payments. On March 16, the company said it would make its hotspots, accessible in its office parking lots, available for free public use.

    Sprint
    Sprint said on March 13 that it has extended its network to include T-Mobile’s network as well for the next 60 days. Sprint has also signed the Keep Americans Connected Pledge and will waive fees and not terminate services if customers are unable to pay because of the coronavirus for the next 60 days. Customers with metered data plans will now receive unlimited data for 60 days. They will also receive an additional 20GB of hotspot data for the same period.

    Customers will be able to place free international calls to CDC-designated Level 3 countries.

    Starry
    Wireless broadband ISP Starry has made Starry Connect, a broadband program for public and affordable housing owners, free through May. Normally, the program, which provides 30Mbps symmetrical speeds, is $15/mo. Starry has also agreed to suspend cancellation of service due to nonpayment due to the coronavirus. It already does not charge additional fees or late fees. Starry's service does not include data caps, either.

    TDS
    TDS said on March 16 that it will be providing free broadband access to customer households with K-12 or college students. (Proof will be required.) Other than that, TDS is adhering to the FCC’s “Keep Americans Connected” pledge only by agreeing not to disconnect customers who can’t pay their bills for the next 60 days. TDS has also opened its Wi-Fi hotspots for the next 60 days to the public, for free.

    T-Mobile
    All current T-Mobile plans with data will be granted free unlimited data for the next 60 days, excluding roaming. T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers will be given an additional 20GB of mobile hotspot and tethering services for the next 60 days. Lifeline customers will be given an extra 5GB of data per month for the next two months.

    “We do not have an offer available for 60 days of free service and encourage consumers to be cautious of social media posts that may include fraudulent numbers,” T-Mobile added.

    Verizon
    Verizon will waive late fees and keep residential and small business customers connected if negatively impacted by the global crisis, the company said on March 13. It is also upgrading the data plan on its Verizon Innovative Learning program for Title 1 middle schools from 10GB/month to 30GB/month for the next two months, effective March 16.

    Windstream (Kinetic)
    Windstream has not announced any relief for customers affected by the coronavirus.

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    Mine has not. Instead they instituted a fucking rewards program to try and get you to spend more on their services today... Brain dead fuckers

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