Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) praised ISPs Saturday (March 14) for various efforts to insure broadband could get to as many people as possible as the country faces extended periods of "social distancing" and the resultant teleworking, telehealth and distance learning, not to mention streaming entertainment as a diversion from the drumbeat of troubling news and to avoid cabin fever.
“The coronavirus outbreak is already creating an unprecedented need for teleworking, telehealth and online education technology,” said Warner. “I’m glad to see certain companies quickly responding to our letter and putting a pause on restrictive caps, fees and other policies that could interfere with online access during this critical time. I’m also pleased to see companies committing to expanding broadband access for students who may not have it so that their educations are not completely disrupted during school closures. I call on those internet providers that have not taken similar steps to do so immediately, in order to assist their fellow Americans during this time of great national strain.”
Warner Thursday (March 12) had joined with other senators to ask ISPs to suspend usage overage charges and data caps, provide free or at-cost broadband to students, and open up WiFi hotspots.
ISPs announced various such efforts Friday (March 13), but that also followed call from House Dems for similar measures and conference calls with FCC chair Ajit Pai, who called on them to sign a connectivity pledge (which they did) not to terminate residential or small business service due to inability to pay, waive late fees, and open up WiFi hotspots.
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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.