Major internet service providers in the United States have announced that they’re deploying temporary measures to assist users as the outbreak of Coronavirus has forced people indoors.
The U.S. is among a large number of countries that have shut schools down and banned large gatherings as authorities try to control the spread of the virus while they come up with a cure. With the exception of essential and emergency services, businesses are being encouraged to allow their employees to work from home and higher educational institutions are being encouraged to use virtual learning environments.
As a result of this unprecedented situation, there has been a significant increase in home internet usage, resulting in lawmakers encouraging ISPs to consider removing data caps.
“We ask that you temporarily suspend broadband caps and associated fees or throttling for all communities affected by COVID-19 and work with public school districts, colleges, and universities to provide free, or at-cost, broadband options for students whose schools close due to COVID-19 who don’t have access at home,” a group of senators wrote in a letter addressed to ISPs.
“Many of our AT&T Internet customers already have unlimited home internet access, and we are waiving internet data overage for the remaining customers,” the company told Vice. AT&T is joined by CenturyLink, Comcast, and others.
Comcast has also decided to offer free internet for 60 days to low-income households signing up for its Internet Essentials service, and boost its speed.
“Our hope is that broader access and faster speeds will help all of our Internet Essentials customers more easily work from home, access educational resources, obtain important government health care alerts, and stay in contact with their families during this difficult time,” the company told Variety.