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Some Americans are losing phone and internet access, despite FCC pledge

The FCC has received complaints from some consumers about service disruptions because of unpaid bills.


What you need to know

  • ISPs and carriers in the U.S. are disconnecting users, despite the “Keep Americans Connected” pledge.
  • A large number of individuals across the country are reporting that their phone and internet services have been disconnected for non-payment of bills.
  • Nearly 650 companies had signed the FCC’s promise last month not to terminate service to any customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Last month, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) asked broadband and telecommunications companies to delay the termination of services for customers because of their inability to pay bills due to the coronavirus pandemic for 60 days. Around 650 companies signed up to the “Keep Americans Connected Pledge,” and many of them even agreed to waive late fees and get rid of data caps.

Despite the pledge, however, many American carriers and ISPs have started disconnecting services of customers who haven’t paid their bills recently. According to a report from NBC News, several unemployed people across the U.S. are now receiving minatory notices, asking them to clear their bills to have their services reinstated.

Jessica Rosenworcel, a commissioner at the FCC, told NBC News that the disconnections are “unacceptable” and that the FCC needs to investigate every complaint for consumers who have unfairly lost service during these difficult times.

Verizon and T-Mobile are saying that customers must proactively reach out to them to ensure that their service is not interrupted.

T-Mobile issued the following statement to NBC News:

We have put in place a number of measures to help the existing Sprint and T-Mobile customers impacted by these difficult times. If any of our customers experience financial hardship as a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic and are concerned about paying their bill, we want to work with them and we encourage them to contact our Care teams before the account is past due to explore options and ensure their service is not interrupted

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