The coronavirus pandemic has changed the rules of social and business engagement. Social distancing, while not permanent, is the new normal. In an always connected, work-life blended society one might think that the internet is primed to support America’s voracious consumption and transmission of content.

The reality, however, is Americans have never experienced a communications shift like the one that began last month. Hundreds of millions of people are now remote.

Closing the digital divide and supporting connectivity has never been more relevant than it is today. To that end, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has launched the Keep Americans Connected Pledge.  FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced this initiative to ensure Americas do not lose broadband or telephone connectivity during the pandemic. The initiative asks broadband and telephone providers to voluntarily take the pledge, which reads:

Given the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on American society, [[Company Name]] pledges for the next 60 days to:

  • not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic;
  • waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic; and
  • open its Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them.

Hundreds of service providers have singed the pledge to date. Visit https://www.fcc.gov/keep-americans-connected to view the list of pledged vendors and to learn more about how the broadband and telephone services providers are supporting connectivity and bolstering resilience across America.

About the Author: Timothy C. Colwell

Timothy C. Colwell