The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic has been catastrophic for millions of Americans around the country. With over 700,00 jobs lost and over 26 million people filing unemployment, the ramifications from this public health crisis will be felt for years to come.
One of the results of the economic downturn is leniency on reoccurring charges and other household bills. Many major corporations have come out with relief initiatives and new policies that allow more flexibility to assist customers through this difficult time. AT&T was one of the many companies that pledged to help keep its customers connected to their wireless service even if they fell behind as a result of being impacted by the viral outbreak.
This week, the telecommunications giant announced it would be extending its initiative through June 30 amid the COVID-19 crisis. This includes keeping public Wi-Fi hotspots open for anyone who needs them and waiving any late payments fees for postpaid wireless, home phone, or broadband residential or small business customers.
The company will also be delivering 60 days of free and unlimited use of Caribu, an app that enables families to connect through a video-call.
The initiative is in conjunction with the FCC’s Keep America Connected Pledge with numerous technology and telecommunication companies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai recently announced the Keep Americans Connected Initiative as a measure to ensure Americans do not lose their broadband or telephone connectivity as a result of these exceptional circumstances caused by the virus outbreak.
“As the coronavirus outbreak spreads and causes a series of disruptions to the economic, educational, medical, and civic life of our country, it is imperative that Americans stay connected. Broadband will enable them to communicate with their loved ones and doctors, telework, ensure their children can engage in remote learning, and — importantly — take part in the ‘social distancing’ that will be so critical to limiting the spread of this novel coronavirus,” Pai said in a statement last month about the pledge.
Over 700 companies have joined the pledge including CenturyLink, Comcast, and Verizon.