Keeping you up to date on the latest changes in internet service providers policies regarding usage and data during the coronavirus pandemic
13 March, 2020 | Posted by: James Patrick Begley
Category: News, Service Providers | No Comments
Updated 03/13/2020 3:37pm
Internet providers are doing some pretty cool things to help consumers during this time of uncertainty. With Americans looking to telecommuting and work from home options due to the coronavirus (covid-19) spread, we decided to keep you posted with live up to the minute updates about your internet service providers policy changes. Here is an up to date breakdown of which ISP’s are doing what:
Charter Communications a.k.a Spectrum, will be offering free highspeed internet access to households that have children in school or to college/university students who are not already customers of Spectrum internet. To see if Charter’s Spectrum service is available in your area, check out Konecteaze zip code look up tool.
Mediacom announced that customers on all of their different internet tiers will receive 50GB of additional data. This policy change will last through March 31. Mediacom has stated that at that time they will assess the situation and decide if an extension or a change in the policy is needed. Mediacom's has a wide range when it comes to its data caps. On the low end you will find caps of 150GB but on the high end you can get a whopping 6TB of data before you see overage charges. Overage charges are typically $10 for blocks of 50GB of data.
Cox Cable hasn’t announced any changes in their policies just yet. They did however issue a statement which in part read “Cox will use its communications network to support government officials with their public service announcements and other critical information to assist the public. Cox currently has a low-income broadband program and is exploring additional ways to expand the initiative if the virus forces school closings”. We will keep you posted if COX announces any changes,
Suddenlink who is owned by Altice, was also non-committal about if it would loosen or suspend data caps, as some of the other major internet providers have done. Suddenlink Altice issued a statement which was similar to COX which said, "We are closely monitoring network usage and are assessing all of our policies and procedures to best support our customers during this unprecedented time,". It seems like outside of the top 3 cable and internet companies; the others are still holding off when it comes to loosening data restrictions. We wonder how long that will last given that Spectrum and ATT have announced data and policy changes due to the coronavirus.
Viasat, formerly named Exede satellite Internet service, offers unlimited plans with no hard caps so overages aren’t a huge concern. That being said, once you do go over the allotted data you can expect your service to slow down which is not good if you are streaming. As with most fiber internet, cable internet and satellite internet providers Viasat allows you to buy more data so there is that option. Viasat should expect more internet traffic and data usage as do most providers now that more social distancing is occurring, and people are staying home. The fact is if you have satellite internet like Viasat or Hughesnet, you are probably ready and have been practicing social distancing since these providers are typically used in rural areas
Hughesnet has not released a statement regarding their plans to alter or change any of their policies in light of the anticipated need in more internet bandwidth due to social distancing and working from home caused by the coronavirus scare.
Comcast whose service goes by the name Xfinity, is the largest provider for residential internet service in the United States. Comcast has not commented on whether it plans to suspend data caps in light of the anticipation of the increased need of bandwidth. So, for now nothing has changed when it comes to Xfinity’s data caps. Comcast did however announce today that they will be raising the speeds on their internet essentials package. Currently that package allows for 15Mbps download/2Mbps upload. The change in Xfinity’s internet Essentials plan bumps that up to a blazing 25Mbps/3Mbps. This service is offered as an option for low income Americans. On top of bumping up the speed for existing customer Comcast also announce they will be giving 60 days of free Internet service to new Xfinity customers who qualify under their low-income package. Again, no other changes to any other internet packages have been announced.
AT&T has really stepped it up during the Coronavirus Pandemic. They have announced that they will be removing data caps. Now although most of their customers are already on unlimited plans any overages which may have been incurred by those who are not will now be waived. AT&T typically offers unlimited data when you bundle your internet service with either Uverse or DirecTV or when you sign up for a super high-speed gigabit package. When you are not on one of these packages and still need unlimited data, you can always purchase that option for $30 more per month. It is important to remember this only applies to AT&T’s residential internet service and not to its mobile service. Don’t go burning up your hotspot data quite yet or you could be in for a big bill.
Stay tuned as we will be updating this blog as we receive more information.