Yesterday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai emphasized the importance of keeping Americans connected during the serious disruptions caused by the coronavirus outbreak. To ensure Americans do not lose connectivity as a result of these exceptional circumstances, Pai asked them to take the Keep Americans Connected Pledge. Merit is proud to participate in this effort.
Companies who join the pledge agree to:
(1) not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic;
(2) waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic; and
(3) open its Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them.
In addition to the pledge, Chairman Pai urged providers to:
1) expand and improve low-income broadband programs (e.g. by increasing speeds and expanding eligibility)
2) adopt low-income programs if they don’t have them now
3) relax data cap policies as appropriate
4) waive long-distance and overage fees as appropriate
5) work with schools and libraries on remote learning opportunities
6) prioritize the connectivity needs of hospitals and healthcare providers
Merit’s mission is connecting organizations and building community. Through our 4,000 miles of fiber optic infrastructure and initiatives like the Michigan Moonshot, Merit continues to work to improve access to the unserved and underserved in our state. We will continue to assist our higher education, k-12, library, government, healthcare and public sector members by providing networking, security and educational services that uphold free expression, promote positive learning opportunities, facilitate economic development and grow their individual organizations.