For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, April 22, 2020
(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein, along with Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery, today led a group of 27 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.
“COVID-19 has impacted every facet of our daily lives – but life must go on,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “Internet, cable, and phones are all critical to making that happen. Kids are learning online, people are getting important safety information, many workers are doing their jobs from home. Telecommunications is a critical infrastructure that people must continue to be able to access.”
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 60 days is not enough.
In their letter, the attorneys general ask 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 Josh Stein is joined in signing this letter by the attorneys general of Tennessee, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Guam, Washington, D.C., Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
A copy of the letter is available here.
More on Attorney General Stein’s work to protect North Carolinians during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Attorney General Josh Stein Releases Statement on Protection of Federal Economic Impact Payments [ncdoj.gov]
- Attorney General Stein Leads 22-State Coalition Urging Federal Government to Increase Awareness about COVID-19 Health Insurance Coverage Opportunities [ncdoj.gov]
- Attorney General Josh Stein Calls on CFPB To Protect Consumers’ Credit During COVID-19 Pandemic [ncdoj.gov]
- For a full overview of this work, please visit ncdoj.gov/covid19 [ncdoj.gov]
Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484