FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CABLE PREPARED TO HELP KEEP TEXAS, U.S. CONNECTED
Broadband providers taking steps to enable, expand access during national health crisis
As Americans are increasingly turning to broadband for work, school and other activities during the country’s national COVID-19 (coronavirus) emergency, the Texas Cable Association (TCA) has issued the following statement, which can be attributed to TCA President Walt Baum:
“The Texas Cable Association is working with our members that provide high-speed broadband to ensure that all Texans can stay connected at a time when being connected is more important and necessary than ever. We also are working closely with state leadership to make sure Texas has the tools it needs to help our state during this time, including using our capabilities to get credible, accurate information out to Texans.
“As more measures are taken to keep Texans of all ages safe, it’s obvious that network demand will grow due to increased work-from-home and school-from-home. Cable networks are already engineered to handle spikes and shift in usage patterns, such as large traffic increases around events such as the Superbowl or the Olympics.
“In addition, cable’s regional and national centers monitor network performance around the clock. Cable companies have national, interconnected networks; if needed, traffic can be shifted to redundant systems. We are confident that internet capacity will continue to perform, even with growing demand.
“Cable broadband providers also are taking steps to expand existing initiatives that provide internet services for low income families; as schools close, we want all students to continue their education without interruption.”
All four Texas Cable Association members are among 69 U.S. cable and telecommunications companies that have signed on to the FCC’s “Keep Americans Connected Pledge.” Companies signing promise that, for the next 60 days, they will not cut off broadband or telephone service to any customers, even those unable to pay their bills; waive late fees incurred because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic; and open their Wi-Fi hotspots to all.
TCA members also are taking the following specific steps:
Altice USA, which provides Suddenlink services
- For households with K-12 and/or college students who may be displaced due to school closures and who do not currently have home internet access, Altice USA is offering its Altice Advantage 30 Mbps broadband solution for free for 60 days to new customer households within our footprint. Eligible households interested in this solution can call 888-633-0030 to enroll in the Suddenlink region, which includes Texas.
- Broadband and voice service to any residential or small business customers will not be terminated for the next 60 days because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic
- Late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic will be waived for the next 60 days.
- Altice USA has aligned with public health authorities and has a team dedicated to its response to the pandemic and business continuity plans to ensure the continuation of services.
- As employees interact with customers and the general public, Altice USA has taken steps to limit exposure to and spread of the virus. Altice USA has put restrictions on travel, is postponing large-scale events, encouraging virtual meetings, and providing remote work solutions.
- Deep cleaning practices and more frequent cleaning have been implemented in Altice USA stores and offices.
- Altice USA is in contact with large hospital systems, schools and government agencies to ensure they have the connectivity services they need to assist the public during this time.
Media only contact: Janet Meahan, 516-519-2353, [email protected]
Charter Communications, which provides Spectrum services
- Charter will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription and at any service level up to 100 Mbps. To enroll call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households.
- Charter will partner with school districts to ensure local communities are aware of these tools to help students learn remotely. Charter will continue to offer Spectrum Internet Assist, high speed broadband program to eligible low-income households delivering speeds of 30 Mbps.
- Charter will open its Wi-Fi hotspots across our footprint for public use.
- Spectrum does not have data caps or hidden fees.
Media only contact: Cameron Blanchard, 203-705-5593, [email protected]
Comcast, which provides Xfinity services
- Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots across the country will be available to anyone who needs them for free – including non-Xfinity Internet subscribers. For a map of Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots, visit xfinity.com/wifi. Once at a hotspot, consumers should select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots, and then launch a browser.
- Comcast is pausing its data plans for 60 days, giving all customers unlimited data for no additional charge.
- Comcast will not disconnect a customer’s internet service or assess late fees if they contact Comcast to tell the company they can’t pay their bills during this period. Care teams will be available to offer flexible payment options and can help find other solutions.
- Comcast has made it even easier for low-income families who live in a Comcast service area to sign-up for Internet Essentials, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program. New customers will receive 60 days of complimentary Internet Essentials service, which is normally available to all qualified low-income households for $9.95/month. Additionally, for all new and existing Internet Essentials customers, the speed of the program’s Internet service was increased to 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream. That increase will go into effect for no additional fee and it will become the new base speed for the program going forward.
- Comcast has created new educational collections for all grade levels in partnership with Common Sense Media. Just say “education” into the X1 or Flex voice remote. To help keep customers informed, Comcast also has created a collection of the most current news and information on coronavirus. Just say “coronavirus” into the X1 or Flex voice remote.
- Comcast’s technology and engineering teams will continue to work tirelessly to support network operations. Engineers and technicians staff network operations centers 24/7 to ensure network performance and reliability. Comcast is monitoring network usage and watching the load on the network both nationally and locally, and to date it is performing well.
Media only contact: Misha McClure, 713-637-5282, [email protected]
Sparklight, formerly Cable One
- Sparklight has made unlimited data available on all internet services for the next 30 days.
- Late fees are waived for customers for the next 60 days.
- Customers who call to make arrangements can obtain payment deferrals. Sparklight plans to reassess after 30 days based on the continued impact and evolving nature of the virus.
- Sparklight’s Wi-Fi hotspots are open to the public across Sparklight’s footprint.
- Customers can call 877-692-2253 for more information and to set up arrangements.
Media only contact: Patricia Niemann, 602-364-6372, [email protected]
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TCA (www.txcable.com) has been the primary trade organization for cable operators in Texas since 1960. Members include Altice USA, Charter Communications, Comcast and Sparklight. Follow TCA’s activities on Facebook (www.facebook.com/texascable) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/texascable).