The companies are part of more than 700 that signed a pledge from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) promising not to disconnect customers as they grapple with the repercussions from the pandemic.
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The “Keep Americans Connected” pledge, which is non-binding, asks the providers to not terminate service if customers can’t pay bills, to waive late fees, and to open Wi-Fi hotspots to Americans. The pledge was for 60 days. It launched on March 13 and is set to run out the second week of May.
Experts have argued that the FCC could be doing more during the coronavirus emergency, and there have been reports of customers having their services terminated despite the companies signing the pledge.
Specifically, some experts said the FCC’s decision to repeal net neutrality rules in 2017, which abdicated its authority over broadband providers, put them in a position where they could only ask companies to stick to the pledge rather than require them to do so.
While the companies have pledged another few months of not disconnecting customers, some advocates have begun pushing Congress to make sure that broadband and other utilities are not shut off for an extended period of time after the coronavirus emergency has slowed.
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