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Donovan asks telecom industry to continue to postpone shut-offs

Apr 29 2020, 5:04 PM

Attorney General TJ Donovan has joined a group of attorneys general in urging the telecommunications industry to extend protections for customers who are struggling financially during the Covid-19 crisis for another 90 days.

The Federal Communications Commission announced on March 13 that many companies had pledged for 60 days to not terminate service to residential or small business customers for nonpayment, to waive late fees, and to open WiFi hotspots to anyone who needs them. The coalition is calling for an extension of an additional 90 days so consumers can stay connected during the pandemic. They’re also asking the FCC to support the extension.

“Access to internet and telecommunications is a critical need during this crisis,” Donovan said. “It allows us to stay connected and engaged while we are operating under the Governor’s Stay Home/Stay Safe executive orders. Access to these services is critical to Vermonters’ ability to learn, work, and access up-to-date health and safety information as the state responds to the Covid-19 crisis.”

In their letter, the coalition asks that the companies extend the FCC pledge an additional 90 days, use fair and reasonable payment plans, reconnect previously disconnected customers, expand data caps and educate their customers on the Covid-19 related services they are providing and about Covid-19 related scams.

— Sarah Asch