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Attorney General Donovan to FCC: Keep Vermonters Connected

April 29, 2020

Coalition Requests Telecomm Industry Continue to Cancel Shut-Offs for Nonpayment

Contact: Charity R. Clark, Chief of Staff, 802-828-3171

Attorney General T.J. Donovan has joined a group of attorneys general in urging the telecommunications industry to make further commitments to protect consumers who are struggling financially as a result of COVID-19 and in calling upon the FCC for support.

“Access to internet and telecommunications is a critical need during this crisis,” said Attorney General Donovan. “It allows us to stay connected and engaged while we are operating under the Governor’s Stay Home/Stay Safe executive orders. Access to these services is critical to Vermonters’ ability to learn, work, and access up-to-date health and safety information as the state responds to the COVID-19 crisis.”

On March 13, 2020, the FCC announced that many companies had pledged for 60 days to (1) not terminate service to residential or small business customers for nonpayment; (2) waive late fees; (3) open Wi-Fi hotspots to anyone who needs them. These commitments are commendable, but the COVID-19 crisis requires an extension for an additional 90 days so consumers can stay connected.

In their letter, the coalition asks that the companies:

  • extend the FCC pledge an additional 90 days;
  • use fair and reasonable payment plans;
  • reconnect previously disconnected customers;
  • expand data caps; and,
  • educate their customers on the COVID-19 related services they are providing and about COVID-19 related scams.

Attorney General Donovan was joined in signing this letter by the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Guam, Washington, D.C., Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

A copy of the letter can be found here.