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Trump Thanks Carriers for COVID-19 Response

President Donald Trump held a call with top communications company CEOs Tuesday (March 30)--Brian Roberts, John Malone and Tom Rutledge among them--to check in with those working to maintain and extend essential connections in a pandemic-driven world of sheltering- and quarantining-in-place. 

According to the White House, the President thanked them and their employees for their work to keep the country connected for work, education, shopping and bridging the physical distances with virtual socializing. 

The President talked about the strength of a free-market based network system that remained strong. 

FCC commissioner Brendan Carr has signaled earlier in the day at the FCC's public--by teleconference--meeting, that the system was strong and could handle what the virus was throwing at it in terms of added bandwidth demands. 

Related: FCC Gets Together, Apart, in Age of COVID-19

The President called the system the envy of the world and thanked them for not only keeping the networks running, but extending free service and waiving bills and late fees for low-income residents. He said they were answering his call for an all-of-America response to the virus pandemic.  

ISPs have pledged to the FCC to keep people connected but has gone beyond those promises in many cases.

Participating on the call from the Administration side, in addition to the President, included advisor Ivanka Trump, assistant to the President Jared Kushner, and Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council. 

CEOs getting the POTUS back-pats included John Malone, Liberty Media; Brian Roberts, Comcast; Tom Rutledge, Charter; Michel Combes of Sprint; Dexter Goei, Altice; Mike Sievert, T-Mobile U.S.; Randall Stephenson, AT&T; and Hans Vestberg, Verizon. 

"We're proud to highlight Verizon's network performance with the President of the United States," said Vestberg following the call. "Our network is providing a necessary lifeline today--and every day--and continues to operate the way our customers have come to expect. Our team is delivering critical connectivity, and essential products and services to millions of Americans, businesses and those on the front lines. We're all in this together." 

John Eggerton
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.