Some of the biggest and best internet providers have extended plans to not charge late fees or terminate service for customers who are struggling to pay their monthly bills due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Companies such as AT&T and Verizon and T-Mobile initially introduced coronavirus response policies in March, with AT&T axing broadband data caps and Verizon introducing 15GB of free extra data, and new discounts for low-income households.
Now, with financial hardship striking many across the nation and lockdowns still in place, almost all of the best cell phone providers and internet providers are extending late fee policies due to the FCC's Keep Americans Connected Pledge.
COVID-19: Here's what providers are doing to help
On its site, T-Mobile announced it was extending its FCC pledge through June 30th, 'continuing to offer support for postpaid wireless, residential and small business customers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
'Customers who have already talked to us and made arrangements for their account can contact us directly after May 13 to get an extension through June 30.
'We will have more details available online later this week.'
Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg said "We need to ensure that our customers, their families and businesses have the ability to connect to the internet even if they’re facing financial hardship from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic"
Verizon announced that it is 'is extending its commitment to keep our customers connected through June 30' yesterday.
'This means we will neither terminate service nor charge late fees to our postpaid wireless, residential, and small business customers that notify us of their inability to pay their bills due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
'Customers can notify us by visiting here.'
In an update announced yesterday, AT&T also extended its Keep Americans Connected Pledge through June 30th.
For residential or small business customers who are unable to pay their bills due to coronavirus disruptions, AT&T will:
- Not terminate any postpaid wireless, home phone or broadband residential or small business account.
- Waive any late payment fees for postpaid wireless, home phone or broadband residential or small business, U-verse TV or DIRECTV customer.
- Waive domestic postpaid wireless plan overage charges for data, voice or text for residential or small business wireless customers.
- Keep its public Wi-Fi hotspots open for anyone who needs them.
Coronavirus: The financial toll
With many Americans facing unemployment, 77% of lower-income Americans fear their rainy day funds won’t last three months. Due to this, many are turning to the best credit cards to get through the virus. This is causing financial insecurity nationwide, but the telecom industry isn't the only actor looking to relieve some of this anxiety. In order to give Americans more access to their money and make ends meet, the Federal Reserve has suspended its six-withdrawal limit to savings in online banks.