Infrastructure Members AT&T, Comcast Business and Verizon step up to aid communities during crisis
During this time of tragedy and disruption to our daily personal and professional lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re all relying more than ever before on our connections to the Internet.
Whether it’s for school or work, ordering food and groceries, managing our households, entertainment or just staying in touch with friends and family, the 24/7 demands on networks is unprecedented as we all try to remain productive and seek normalcy and escape.
However, that reliable connection is just the beginning of what major telecommunications companies are doing nationwide and within our communities. TechPoint’s membership includes three of the world’s largest tech infrastructure providers—AT&T, Comcast Business and Verizon. We recently spoke with executives at all three companies to find out more about the efforts they’re making to aid their customers and the communities they serve.
We chose one or two of the good works to highlight from each of our three member companies, but the breadth of services provided, be they paid, free of charge, or donated by the companies or their workforces, is something worth acknowledging.
Depending on which service provider you use at your home or business, numerous resources are available to you completely free. If you haven’t already browsed your provider’s COVID-19 response page, please use the links included below to learn more and take advantage of the many programs and offerings that could make things a little bit easier for you during this crisis.
Jeff McElfresh, CEO of AT&T Communications, wrote in a public letter that what the company is doing isn’t just out of a dedication to philanthropy, but that AT&T believes it has a civic duty to step up and do what it can to keep people connected.
From AT&T’s FirstNet communications:
Police, fire, EMS, public health, emergency management and military personnel have been working around the clock to assess and mitigate the COVID-19 spread nationwide. And that means having the connectivity they need to efficiently and effectively coordinate and communicate their emergency response. As public safety’s partner – not simply a vendor or commercial network provider – FirstNet is proud to be by their side, helping to address public safety’s needs and deliver for the people our communities are counting on most. FirstNet is the only nationwide wireless broadband communications platform dedicated to America’s first responders and public safety community. Public safety agencies and individual first responders can sign up for service or order devices online.
FirstNet provides public safety with a dedicated lane of connectivity when they need it. To ensure first responders have as much coverage and capacity as possible, FirstNet subscribers have access to all AT&T LTE commercial spectrum bands, as well as Band 14 spectrum. Band 14 is nationwide, high-quality spectrum set aside by the U.S. government specifically for FirstNet. We look at Band 14 as public safety’s VIP lane.
During an emergency, this band – or lane – can be cleared and locked just for FirstNet subscribers. That means only those on FirstNet will be able to access Band 14 spectrum, further elevating their connected experience and emergency response. That’s unique in the industry and something public safety won’t get anywhere but on the FirstNet network.
Learn more about FirstNet and AT&T’s pandemic resources on the company’s COVID-19 Response website. Topics include Latest Updates, FirstNet & First Responders, Consumers, Businesses, Education & Communities, Employees and Network.
Comcast, the parent company of member Comcast Business, recently launched its Xfinity Education Destination for kids K-12 with thousands of free resources. The portal includes nearly 2,000 hours of programming and thousands of free titles available to Xfinity video customers to give children and parents quick and easy access to educational programming by grade level as part of the company’s comprehensive response to the COVID-19 crisis.
The collection is a joint effort with Common Sense Media, the leading source of entertainment and technology recommendations for families whose trusted age-based ratings and reviews are integrated into Xfinity on Demand. A subset of the education collection is also available on Xfinity Flex and across devices via the Xfinity Stream app and website.
From the Xfinity Education Destination announcement:
“Today Xfinity is making thousands of hours of educational programming and resources available to our customers through Xfinity on Demand as we know how challenging it is for families right now who are suddenly homeschooling young children – many with both parents working, as well,” said Rebecca Heap, SVP of Video & Entertainment at Comcast. “The programming selected in partnership with Common Sense Media is available in one comprehensive destination organized by grade level to make it as easy as possible for parents to find what is most relevant to their family.”
Learn more about the comprehensive COVID-19 response including Xfinity Education Destination from Comcast and Comcast Business on the company’s pandemic response website. Topics include Connectivity, News & Education, Entertainment, Our People, Our Communities and Latest Stories.
Read the recent TechPoint Index feature story about Comcast Business.
In a recent letter to corporate partners, Tupac Hunter, manager of local government affairs and community engagement for Verizon, stressed that executives have been very mindful of the cascading impact of the pandemic and have taken multiple steps at the national level to support customers in these pressing times. Some of these actions include:
- For schools and organizations supporting low-income families. We’ve tripled the data allowance for schools in our Verizon Innovative Learning program, the company’s education initiative targeting Title I middle schools. Verizon has also committed $5 million to support Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign and its overall work to help feed school children from low-income families.
- For our customers. We’ve pledged to our residential and small business customers that for the next 60 days we will: (1) not terminate service due to inability to pay because of disruptions caused by the pandemic; (2) waive any late fees; and (3) offer free international calling to CDC level 3 countries.
- For first responders and government agencies. Verizon will continue to support those at the forefront of response efforts, which include EMTs and first responders, to provide them with the connectivity and resources needed to complete their critical missions and protect the public. The Verizon Response Team, which supports governments and nonprofits 24/7/365, has also been activated and is currently leading more than 120 engagements across the U.S. to help boost network performance and foster communications for agencies involved in response efforts.
- For health organizations and healthcare workers. Verizon has committed $2 million to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund in support of the World Health Organization (WHO)’s global response and an additional $5 million to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) COVID-19 Response Fund and Direct Relief, both of which will support healthcare workers on the front lines.