COVID-19 is raging more widely than ever but AT&T is re-imposing data caps on its customers, becoming the first major carrier to abandon the “Keep Americans Connected” pledge many of them adopted last year, according to a Law360.com report.
The pledge, suggested by the Federal Communications Commission, technically expired at the end of June but many service providers had voluntarily agreed to keep providing relief to customers who may be struggling because of the coronavirus.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans are working from home and, in many cases, their children are attending remote education classes, possibly leading them to use more data than usual and incur monthly fees for the overage.
The FCC has praised AT&T for going “above and beyond the call” by extending its moratorium beyond the original June 2020 expiration date.
The “Keep Americans Connected” pledge asked internet providers to stop cutting off service to consumers who can’t pay because of the pandemic, to provide “hotspots” to anyone who needed them and to waive late fees resulting from economic hardship caused by COVID-19.
AT&T has said that few families exceed the 1-terrabyte limit on home internet connections.
“The services we provide are woven into the fabric of how we work, play and watch over our loved ones. We are committed to keeping you in touch when it matters most, because staying connected has never been more important,” AT&T said last year in announcing the now-discontinued program, dubbed Access from AT&T.