Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Coronavirus: Business and technology in a pandemic

AT&T, Comcast and other ISPs sign FCC pledge to support connectivity during coronavirus outbreak

A bevy of major ISPs have pledged to support broadband connectivity as COVID-19 spreads in the US and workers are told to stay home.

Major US internet providers including AT&T, Comcast and Verizon have signed a pledge with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to support broadband connectivity for the millions of Americans shifting to remote work and online schooling amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

A bevy of companies have agreed not to terminate service or assess late fees if a customer is impacted economically by the outbreak. AT&T will also suspend broadband data caps for customers who aren't on unlimited data plans.

"As the coronavirus outbreak spreads and causes a series of disruptions to the economic, educational, medical, and civic life of our country, it is imperative that Americans stay connected," https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-363033A1.pdf. "Broadband will enable them to communicate with their loved ones and doctors, telework, ensure their children can engage in remote learning, and—importantly—take part in the 'social distancing' that will be so critical to limiting the spread of this novel coronavirus."

Pai's Keep American Connected pledge calls on ISPs to ensure broadband connectivity as COVID-19 spreads in the US and globally and workers are told to stay home. Many are turning to online collaboration services such as video conferencing to stay connected, which will tax Wi-Fi networks and ramp up broadband consumption across the country. 

Also: Best video conferencing software for business in 2020: Zoom, WebEx, AnyMeeting, Slack, and more

In addition to asking broadband providers to relax data caps, the FCC's connectivity initiative also calls on telephone carriers to waive long-distance and overage fees, and on those that serve schools and libraries to work with them on remote learning efforts. Additionally, Pai said all network operators should prioritize the connectivity needs of hospitals and healthcare providers.