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Which Internet providers are lifting data caps during the coronavirus, and which aren't

Which Internet providers are lifting data caps during the coronavirus, and which aren’t

As American businesses are forced to shut down because of COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus), customers are anxious about their bill for Internet access. Data caps, an annoyance in the best of times, suddenly can mean paying additional fees if a family sheltering in place goes over their limit.

Think of it: you’re working from home, videoconferencing over Skype or Zoom, while your kids are playing games and chatting with friends. There’s streamed movies to watch in the evenings. Disney+ and Netflix may be in constant rotation, adding to the bandwidth strain. That’s a lot of data! 

In response, some ISPs and cellular service providers are providing relief for customers. Some are merely adhering to the FCC’s Keep Americans Connected Pledge (PDF), which asks the signees not to terminate a customer’s service for non-payment. Others are removing data caps and lowering bills in response to COVID-19.

And others, as you will see in our list below, are doing nothing at all. 

AT&T

All AT&T home Internet Wireline customers, as well as Fixed Wireless Internet customers, can use unlimited data. AT&T will continue to offer $10/mo Access from AT&T service for qualifying customers. AT&T Prepaid has also added a new $15/mo offer for 2GB of data.

For the next 60 days, AT&T also pledged not to terminate the service of any customer who can’t pay their bill, and will waive the fees associated with late payments. (Waivers can be applied for here.)  It will also waive domestic postpaid wireless plan overage charges for data, voice or text for residential or small business wireless customers. AT&T will keep its public Wi-Fi hotspots open to everyone, and has automatically increased hotspot data by 15GB per month per line.

Effective April 8, AT&T waived Guam-based international roaming charges for AT&T Mobility accounts through April 30 and retroactively to April 1. New AT&T TV/DirectTV customers will receive a free year of HBO. An AT&T “Summer Camp” collection of content has been added, and AT&T also added a number of free channels to those customers who didn’t already have them.

CenturyLink 

For the next 60 days, CenturyLink said it has committed to waive late fees and to not terminate a residential or small business customer’s service due to financial circumstances associated with COVID-19. The company is also suspending data usage limits for consumer customers during this time period due to COVID-19. It has committed to the FCC’s Keeping Americans Connected Pledge.