The FCC’s Keep Americans Connected Pledge, which aims to work with the industry to maintain broadband and telecommunications services during the COVID-19 pandemic, has been extended through the end of June.

The pledge launched on March 13. The FCC said that more than 700 broadband and telephone service providers committed for 60 days to not terminate business or residential services due to inability to pay the bill, late fees for late payment due to the virus and open WiFi hotspots to all.

Keep Americans Connected Pledge Extended
“Hundreds of providers have stepped up to the plate to keep Americans connected to communications services in this time of need,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a press release. “This includes the largest and some of the smallest providers across the country.  I salute them for making broadband available to Americans who increasingly rely on it for work, school, healthcare, and communicating with loved ones.”

The FCC noted that some providers, particularly those in small markets and rural areas, may not be able to do so as a result of financial challenges. The commission asks those providers that are not able to extend their pledge commitment to notify the FCC. Details are in the press release.

The commission has been busy helping consumers during the pandemic. In addition to the Keep Americans Connected pledge, for example, the commission also has let wireless carriers temporarily use each other’s spectrum, has extended certain deadlines such as the one to apply for e-rate schools and libraries funding and has awarded funding for telehealth.

Joan Engebretson contributed to this report.

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