Pai Urges Providers to Keep Consumers Connected Through July

(Image credit: FCC)

WASHINGTON—FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is asking service providers to keep consumers and small businesses connected through the month of July, even as the Keep Americans Connected pledge expires on June 30. In addition, Pai is hoping for specific legislation from Congress to ensure connectivity.

The Keep Americans Connected pledge was instituted shortly after the outbreak of the pandemic, and has included 785 service providers promising not to cancel subscriptions because of missed payments. However, after three-and-a-half months, the pledge is set to end at the end of June.

Pai, though not extending the pledge, is once again asking that service providers continue to support consumers and small businesses who may be behind on their bills by offering things like an option to extend payment plans and deferred payment arrangements. He also hopes that the providers will expand their plans for low-income families and veterans, as well as providers’ remote learning plans for students.

In an FCC press release, the commission says Pai has already heard from broadband and telephone service providers that the would continue to help keep Americans connected in the coming months.

But as the pledge reaches its conclusion, Pai now thinks it is time for legislation from Congress to ensure people can remain connected through the pandemic. He specifically cites the Broadband Connectivity and Digital Equity Framework proposed by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) as “a forward-thinking proposal to do just that.”

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