The coronavirus pandemic is swiftly spreading around the globe. The United States is attempting to slow the spread of the virus by canceling major events and forcing large sections of the workforce to work remotely. As a result, more people than ever are relying on home internet access for their livelihoods. In an effort to support that, AT&T has announced that they are temporarily halting all caps on broadband service for their customers.
AT&T is the first internet-service provider (ISP) to make this move, but many others are expected to follow in their footsteps. Over twenty U.S. senators recently signed a letter urging all major ISPs in the United States to do the same thing. As more workers are forced into remote work, having access to high-speed internet becomes even more essential.
“During this period, it’s likely that we’ll see historic numbers of American students and their teachers relying on data-intensive services such as video teleconferencing, remote learning courses, and virtual mental health services,” reads the senator’s letter. “Specifically, 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.”
The truth of the matter is that most of AT&T’s customers don’t have a broadband cap anyway. However, some older plans have coverage limited to anything from 150 GB to 1 terabyte per month. Those plans will not experience any caps until the coronavirus pandemic is under control.
Comcast is another ISP that is attempting to alleviate remote work stress for their customers. According to Digital Trends, Comcast has adapted their low-income internet plans to provide customers with 60 days of free internet service with increased speeds.
As the United States continues to practice social distancing and more workers find themselves working from home, it will be all the more important for other ISPs to enact comparable policies. Don’t be surprised to see similar announcements in the near future.