Technology Companies Respond to Customers Needs During Pandemic
As the American workforce shifts dramatically to working from home, many consumers must face increasing data usage on their personal accounts.
In addition to an increase in working from home, consumers must contend with being confined to households for hours, days, and weeks on end. Students of all ages are home, completing assignments that require web access. And many of us are consuming content at high rates, binge-watching series, documentaries, and movies on streaming apps.
All of that activity leads to more data demand. For those consumers that have unlimited data plans, the issue of going over your plan’s allotted data is a non-issue. For others, however, it’s a potentially costly proposition.
How Are Phone, Internet and Cable Carriers Responding to the Increased Demand for Data?
Telecom companies recognize that their customers face extraordinary challenges right now. While there has been no universal rollout of discounts or lifting of data caps, each of the major carriers has announced plans to support users in different ways. Here’s a rundown of the top company responses:
- AT&T. The company is providing home internet wireline and fixed wireless internet customers with 60 days of unlimited internet data. It’s also offering free data for school-issued tablets and waiving overage fees for voice and data for all customers. Other adjustments include expanded eligibility for a low-income internet program, free telehealth services. free smartphones for first responder agencies using FirstNet, three months of free broadband for nurses and physicians and a new low-cost prepaid plan
- CenturyLink. The company has suspended data caps
- Charter (Spectrum). New household customers with K-12 or college students can get up to 100 Mbps of broadband service free for 60 days with waived installation fees
- Sprint. The company has offered unlimited smartphone data and more mobile hotspot data for 60 days, added new, inexpensive smartphone plans, lowered prices and doubled data allotments for hotspot devices and increased data usage limits for high school students without internet access at home
- T-Mobile. For 60 days, the company is offering unlimited smartphone data and more mobile hotspot data, giving more free data to Lifeline partners’ customers, boosting data limits for schools and students, providing free international calling to COVID-19-impacted countries and adding new, inexpensive smartphone plans
- U.S. Cellular. The carrier is waiving data caps and overage charges on all plans and offering extra hotspot data to some customers through July
- Verizon. The wireless provider added 15 GB of high-speed data for small businesses and residential wireless customers and removed data caps for DSL and FIOS plans. The company is waiving activation and upgrade fees, increasing data allotments for wireless customers, allowing data to be used for hotspots, and offering discounts to nurses and teachers
The Federal Communications Commission had asked wireless carriers to sign the Keep Americans Connected Pledge and praised the companies that had committed to the effort. According to an FCC release, more than 700 companies responded to the call to reduce prices and provide much-needed access to data.
“The response from service providers across the nation has been resoundingly positive,” noted an FCC release.
What Are Other Companies Doing About Broadband Rates and Access?
Broadband companies are not the only ones addressing increased demand for broadband. Netflix, for example, has stopped offering its programming in ultra-high-definition, while in some countries, they’ve throttled down to standard definition.
In addition, Google is offering $340 million in free ads to small businesses to help them address the economic challenges.
At Alvarez Technology Group, we help companies optimize their wireless networks, improve connectivity for working-from-home employees and keep corporate data secure. To learn more about our managed IT and security services, contact us today.