Pai Asks Broadband Providers For Concerted Coronavirus Effort

FCC chair Ajit Pai urged internet providers to lower costs and boost speeds given that the coronavirus is likely to drive more people online to work and study and get healthcare, according to The Wall Street Journal

That came in conference calls with industry representatives Thursday (March 12). 

An FCC spokesperson confirmed the calls--as did a source familiar with them--and said that more details would be coming out Friday. 

Pai wants broadband providers to hold off on disconnections, provide billing relief and open up WiFi hot spots for free.  

Comcast was getting ahead of the issue Thursday, announcing that it was offering 60 days of free broadband access to low-income homes, providing free equipment, and boosting speeds. 

In addition, NCTA-The National Cable & Telecommunications Association, said Thursday its members were exploring ways to expand initiatives and develop new strategies to meet the moment. 

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.