AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon all announced extensions of some of the coronavirus policies they’ve enacted to-date, extending those guarantees out to June 30. The responses from each company are somewhat unique, so we’ll cover each below:
Comcast will waive late fees if you contact them and tell them you cannot pay. It has pledged not to disconnect any Xfinity internet, mobile, or voice user, and it’s making Xfinity WiFi hot spots available for free across the United States.
All Comcast data caps have been waived through June 30 as well. If you do not have home internet but can receive a Comcast hookup, the company is offering 60 days of complimentary service for all new customers through June 30. The service typically costs $6.95 per month.
Verizon will not terminate residential or small business service nor charge late fees on any customer, provided you notify them of your hardship. Last week the company announced it would give wireless customers an extra 15GB of data in May.
AT&T has announced its own initiatives, and they largely mirror what Comcast and Verizon are doing. Once again, if you notify the company, it will waive all late fees and overage charges associated with wired or wireless usage.
The various bits of information in the coronavirus updates from AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast are all a little funnier if you think about them as attempts to respond to the pandemic. Verizon, for example, wants us to know it’ll be increasing its capital expenditures later this year. Don’t mistake me — that’s an important statement regarding future spending in a deeply uncertain time — but it’s also a little funny to think about a company saying: “We know there’s a deadly disease killing people, but we promise to keep investing.”
Does Anybody Think Wireline Data Caps Are Remotely Justifiable Now?
One thing that’s been common knowledge in the IT industry is that wireline data caps, like those of which Comcast imposes, are literally nothing but a way for companies to overcharge customers for service. It’s been admitted by engineers, industry CEOs, and leaked documents, none of which go to any trouble to hide this fact. Even as the cost of delivering traffic to you has cratered, ISPs have continued to charge overage fees for data caps that have no technical reason to exist, year after year. A huge percentage of workers in the United States have been sheltering in place for months. Network usage has surged. Bandwidth demands have grown significantly. The internet may have struggled for a few days, but the network has stood firm.
There was never an objective reason for Comcast and other companies to enforce bandwidth caps, beyond that they were legally allowed to fleece customers for additional overage fees and decided to do so. Now that they’re gone, they’ve got no business coming back.
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