Internet service providers stepping up amid pandemic

More than ever, with Pennsylvania schools closed and a stay-at-home order issued for Northampton, Lehigh and other commonwealth counties, access to telecommunications technology is vital for our students and their families. Thankfully, Lehigh Valley service providers, as well as nonprofit organizations, are stepping up to meet the challenge of keeping communities connected during the coronavirus pandemic. A number of them signed onto the Keep Americans Connected Pledge issued earlier this month by the Federal Communications Commission.

Low-cost offers

EveryoneON, a nonprofit organization devoted to bridging the digital divide, connects people with low-cost internet service and digital device offers available in their communities. The organization’s search tool has been updated to include new offers available during the pandemic. Get the details.

Local service providers

RCN is willing to make special arrangements — defer payments, waive late fees, etc. — with financially disadvantaged customers in order to keep their service active. Get the details.

Service Electric is offering 90 days of free internet services to new customers during the pandemic. The company also has agreed to not terminate service for residential and small business customers unable to pay their bills, waive late fees for nonpayment and open its wi-fi hot spots to the public. Get the details.

National service providers

AT&T has agreed to waive late payment fees and overage charges residential customers may incur in the next 60 days because of economic hardship. The company also will not terminate service in that time period and is keeping its wi-fi hot spots open to whoever needs them. Get the details.

Sprint is providing unlimited data for 60 days to customers with metered data plans and giving 20GB of free mobile hot spot to those with hot spot-capable devices. The company also is waiving per-minute charges for international calls to certain countries. Get the details.

T-Mobile is providing unlimited smartphone data (excluding roaming) for 60 days to all customers and those with “smartphone mobile hotspot” can add 20GB to their plans at no additional cost. The company also is offering free international calls to many countries. Get the details.

Verizon is waiving overage charges and late fees for customers financially affected by the pandemic for 60 days. And beginning next month, the company is offering a “new affordable internet option for low-income households.” Get the details.

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