European telecommunication network connected over Europe, France, Germany, UK, Italy, concept about internet and global communication technology for finance, blockchain or IoT, elements from NASA
Social distancing has become the recommended safety measure by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to stop the spread of the Coronavirus. By now, people are holed up in their homes juggling their job and family under the same roof. Such a quick shift in day-to-day routines can bring unbalance to work-life stability as people find ways to adjust.
As Americans’ mental health will be tested (as well as patience), social distancing could put a toll on a necessity to keep connected with the developments of COVID-19 – your Internet speed.
Students have been forced to continue their curriculums at home and workers everywhere are balancing their laptops on their lap from the comfort of their homes. By now, some workers told Ladders they’ve noticed interrupted internet speeds in New York City including one who had an internet outage of nearly two hours at the start of Tuesday morning.
The New York Times reported how the spread of the Coronavirus will test internet networks as millions of people around the United States are now relying on home networks as opposed to operating in the office. In the report, it keenly pointed out how home networks like Wi-Fi routers are not built to provide optimal service for multiple users at a time, especially if someone wants to stream a movie or TV show while another resident tries logging into Zoom or Google Hangouts for a virtual office meeting.
“What is sufficient bandwidth for a couple of home computers for a husband and wife may not be sufficient when you add students who are going to class all day long operating from home,” Tom Wheeler, the former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, told The New York Times.
Connecting is the key to social distancing. Facetime and other apps are recommended in order to connect with others and it’s even being used with children for virtual playdates. In order to keep people connected during the Coronavirus outbreak, Internet providers and wireless companies have announced measures that include free WiFi and loosened payment plans for businesses forced to shutter shop.
Charter Communications – which owns Spectrum – announced free broadband and WiFi access for 60 days to households with K-12 who do not already have Spectrum broadband subscription. The offer is extended to households with college students, who were forced to leave campus and continue their year via online classes.
In addition to opening WiFi hotspots, the company said it will not disconnect internet subscribers and small businesses experiencing hardships during the pandemic.
Comcast said it will provide low-income customers with two months of free internet and raise speeds. They will extend Xfinity WiFi free for everyone and won’t disconnect or charge late fees.
AT&T is offering free public service for 60 days and Verizon said it will waive late fees and won’t disconnect accounts during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Internet providers’ actions come shortly after Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai stressed the importance of connectivity due to disruptions caused by the Coronavirus pandemic with the “Keep Americans Connected Pledge”, where he asked companies to make adjustments to better serve Americans in crisis.
“As the coronavirus outbreak spreads and causes a series of disruptions to the economic, educational, medical, and civic life of our country, it is imperative that Americans stay connected. Broadband will enable them to communicate with their loved ones and doctors, telework, ensure their children can engage in remote learning, and—importantly—take part in the ‘social distancing’ that will be so critical to limiting the spread of this novel coronavirus,” Pai said in a press release. “That’s why I’m asking all broadband and telephone service providers to take the Keep Americans Connected Pledge. I don’t want any American consumers experiencing hardships because of the pandemic to lose connectivity.”