Expand access to internet and phone services, especially for under-resourced communities, communities of color, and undocumented people, during and after the COVID-19 crisis.
(These recommendations are based on internet/phone policies and guidance emerging across the country, including the FCC Pledge, Closing the Digital Divide guidance from Human Rights Watch, and other individual company policies.)
During this crisis, phones and the internet can serve as vital connections to pandemic information, support networks, and essential services. Phone and internet services are also critical to families that are now required to work or participate in school remotely. Without access, families are at risk of being misinformed on how to stay healthy; losing their jobs; and lacking access to learning. For these reasons, we recommend that state and local leaders:
- Increase and expand access to internet and phone services for all households.
- Suspend disconnections, expedite reconnections, and forego late payment penalties.
- Offer free wi-fi hotspots.
- Loosen or pause data plan charges and offer expanded, unlimited data.
- Offer free or discounted services and equipment for under-resourced households.
- Ensure there is clear communication, available in multiple languages, to all customers about new policies.