Internet Resources for Families
During the current global health crisis, it is critical that all Oklahomans have access to adequate and affordable internet services. Schools throughout the state will transition to online course work to complete the academic year. Health care facilities will rely heavily on their telehealth programs to help ease the burden of patient care. An unprecedented percentage of Oklahoma citizens in the workforce will depend on the ability to telework for the foreseeable future.
In order to address these issues, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has requested that telecommunications and internet service providers throughout the country sign the Keep Americans Connected Pledge. By signing this pledge, providers agree to a) 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; b) waive any late fees incurred as a result of the coronavirus pandemic; and c) open Wi-Fi hotspots to any American in need. To learn more about the pledge and the companies that have signed the pledge, visit https://www.fcc.gov/keep-americans-connected.
Additional resources have been compiled in order to aid residents and businesses in Oklahoma. These resources are listed below and the information will be updated as more details become available. The list on this page is not guaranteed to be complete nor should this be considered an endorsement for the companies listed.
The National Digital Inclusion Alliance also provides a list of free and low-cost internet plans at https://www.digitalinclusion.org/free-low-cost-internet-plans/.
If you are aware of any additional programs, please contact OneNet at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unlimited AT&T Home Internet: All AT&T consumer home internet wireline customers, as well as Fixed Wireless Internet, can use unlimited internet data. Additionally, AT&T will continue to offer internet access for qualifying limited income households at $10 a month through the Access from AT&T program. Eligibility has been expanded to Access from AT&T to households participating in the National School Lunch Program and head start. Additionally, AT&T offers new Access from AT&T customers two months of free service.
Serving Those Who Serve: AT&T is redirecting more resources to provide communication services and tools for first responders, health care professionals, educators and other essential customers. This additional support will help ensure these customers can continue providing critical support to the country and their communities, particularly to first responders using the FirstNet network.
To enable more people to qualify for Access, AT&T is expanding eligibility to qualifying households based on income and households with children who participate in the National School Lunch and head start programs. This is in addition to the households who already participate in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program and or receive benefits from Supplemental Security Income in California.
- Offer two months of free service for any new AT&T Access customers who order by 4/30/20
- Waive all home internet data overage fees
More information can be found on the AT&T website: https://about.att.com/pages/COVID-19.html
AT&T is giving free wireless data to school districts to provide to students as they adjust to learning from home. Through May 22, qualified schools (K-12, colleges and universities) nationwide activating new lines for school-issued tablets, 4G LTE-enabled laptops and hotspot devices will get unlimited wireless data service for free for 60 days to offer their students.
Additional offerings include:
- Video Conferencing Help: New customers in K-12 education, as well as health care and nonprofit social services can get AT&T Office@Hand Premium for free for up to 60 days. This provides fully integrated phone, fax, messaging capabilities and HD video conferencing for up to 100 users.
- Distance Learning: AT&T is launching a $10 million Distance Learning and Family Connections Fund. The fund launched with a $1M contribution to Khan Academy to help improve and expand online learning resources to meet the growing demand from parents, teachers and students.
AT&T is providing 60 days of free access and unlimited usage of Caribu, a video-calling application that allows family members to read, draw and play games with one another while at different locations.
For more information on AT&T’s education offers, visit: https://about.att.com/pages/COVID-19.html#communities
Bolt/NE Electric Cooperative
Bolt/NE Electric Cooperative is on board with the Keep Americans Connected Pledge. They have already implemented steps 1 and 2. They are continuing to support their customer base and restore service outages as they arise.
Cox pledges for the next 60 days to:
- Not terminate service to any residential or small business customer because of an inability to pay their bills due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic,
- Waive any late fees that any residential or small business customer incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic, and
- Open Cox Wi-Fi hotspots to help keep the public connected in this time of need.
Additionally, Cox will continue to offer internet access for qualifying limited income households at $9.95 (+ taxes) per month through the Connect2Compete program. Eligibility requirements include a) at least one student in grades K-12 lives in the applying household; b) at least one person in applying household must participate in one of these government assistance programs: the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), SNAP, TANF or public housing; and c) applicant must have not subscribed to Cox High Speed Internet service in the last 90 days, have outstanding Cox bills or unreturned equipment.
Cross and MBO have already implemented processes to keep Americans connected, and those actions are commensurate with Chairman Pai’s plan. In addition, they have taken steps to communicate and identify those customers who were transitioned into telework roles in order to expand their bandwidth capabilities at no additional charge–customers simply need to provide the telework directive from their employer. Processes have been initiated to simplify service activations and allow consumers to connect using online resources.
Fidelity has shared the following:
Grand Telephone has posted the Keep America Connected Pledge on their website, on the local advertising channel on the cable system, and on the door to their business. They are currently in the process of setting up several Wi-Fi hotspots in areas with large parking areas for public use from vehicles. Grand Telephone in the process of completing an upgrade to their transport pipeline in order to upgrade customer speeds. All customers with health issues are receiving priority over other customers. Online school and telework customers are second priority.
Hilliary Communications is working closely with local mayors and school superintendents to set up community Wi-Fi locations in the towns and communities that they serve. They have customers throughout eight counties in Oklahoma and have identified 57 locations that are being set up as community Wi-Fi spots. These locations will provide free internet daily between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. Additional locations will be added if the need arises. In addition to the free Wi-Fi hotspots, customers can also upgrade their current speed at no charge until the pandemic passes.
Hilliary will publish the Wi-Fi location list on their website and Facebook pages. The local schools and towns will also publish locations on their websites and send notices to residents and students by automated calls or texts that they have available as part of their communication systems.
Oklahoma Cable and Internet Association Statement
From Matt Latham, Executive Director
On behalf of the Oklahoma Cable and Internet Association, I wanted to reach out to let you know about the response by our member companies to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis facing our state. Our members pride themselves in giving back to the community and that only amplifies itself in times of need.
With Oklahomans across the state being asked to practice social distancing and workplaces from our largest to our smallest requiring their employees to work from home, access to internet and television services is of the highest priority for Oklahomans. Understanding this importance, the members of the Oklahoma Cable and Internet Association, which provide internet and cable services across our state, have committed to keeping Oklahoma connected and doing our part during these unpredictable times. Our members include Cox Communications, Hilliary Communications, Suddenlink, Community Cable & Broadband, Vyve Broadband, Pioneer, Sparklight, and Fidelity Communications.
This commitment to ensure Oklahomans are and stay connected spans the entire state. We have rural and urban member companies that have signed on to the Keep America Connected Pledge announced this week by FCC Chairman Pai. This pledge says that for the next 60 days companies will waive all late fees and not disconnect services because of economic circumstances caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, the pledge commits companies to opening their Wi-Fi hotspots to increase access to all Oklahomans.
Many of our companies are not stopping at the Keep America Connected Pledge. For example, for the next 60 days Cox Communications is offering free speed upgrades to customers on their Starter, Straightup Internet and Connect2Compete packages to 50 Mbps. Essential plan customers will be upgraded from 30 Mbps to 50 Mbps. They will also be giving new Connect2Compete customers, the heavily discounted internet product they offer to families with school-aged children, a free month of internet. These customers also receive free access to support tools that help families access online tools like online classroom resources.
In rural Oklahoma, member companies like Hilliary Communications are adding on to their Keep America Connected Pledge by offering all of their customers a free upgrade to the next tier of speed until May 1st. This speed upgrade recognizes the needs of Oklahomans working from home and students needing to access learning materials.
The Oklahoma Cable and Internet Association is proud that our members are stepping up in a moment of crisis and our member companies are committed to continuing to help as we weather the storm of this unprecedented time.
Panhandle Telephone is waiving activation fees for installation of broadband services and has a promotional package for customers affected by the COVID-19 outbreak (loss of job, online school requirements, etc.) Package includes 30/5 Mbps for $30 for six months and whole-home Wi-Fi free for six months.
Panhandle is also providing increased data limits on wireless plans and will offer credit on applicable overage charges. As well, all late fees will be waived and customers will not be disconnected for non-payment.
Pioneer Telephone Cooperative
Pioneer Telephone Cooperative has consolidated all copper broadband plans into one plan called GoMax. This plan allows customers to get the maximum bandwidth as technically possible at their location. Pioneer offers three fiber broadband plans with the entry level plan beginning at 50 Mbps symmetrical and the top tier delivering 1,000 Mbps symmetrical. They do not adhere to data caps on any of these broadband plans. Pioneer is committed to work with customers on a case by case basis to address their needs.
A 15 Mbps internet plan for $10 per month is available for the next 60 days to help low income families and those most impacted from coronavirus challenges, such as seniors and college students. No documentation is required to sign up for this plan.
They have also opened free Wi-Fi hotspots in Sparklight local office parking lots across its footprint for public use during the crisis in order to keep individuals and communities connected. The company will work to open additional Wi-Fi hotspots in other public areas in the coming days and weeks.
Beginning March 13, 2020, Sparklight made unlimited data available on all internet services for 30 days and committed to waiving late fees and deferring payments for 60 days for customers experiencing financial strain as a result of the coronavirus.
The company also stands ready to support critical infrastructure with speed upgrades and other requests to ensure ongoing and reliable service for local educators and health care professionals, including customers under federal rural healthcare and E-Rate programs.
For households with K-12 and/or college students who may be displaced due to school closures and who do not currently have home internet access, Suddenlink is offering the Altice Advantage Internet solution for free for 60 days to any new customer household within their operating footprint.
After the first two free months expire, a customer may either cancel the service at no charge (which they can do at any time) or keep it as a regular paying Altice Advantage Internet customer for only $14.99/mo.
Residents interested in internet connectivity due to school schedule disruptions may contact their customer service department at (888) 633-0030.
Terral Telephone Company has implemented the Keep America Connected pledge recommended by the FCC. They are not disconnecting service for non-payment and have turned some customers back on that had been disconnected in the last few months.
The local office is closed but they have kept the drive-thru window open for customer service and payments. Wi-Fi hotspots are open to the public. They have excess transport capacity between Duncan and Ringold, Texas.
Terral Telephone Company pledges for the next 60 days to:
- Not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of inability to pay due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic;
- Waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic; and
- Open its Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them.
Trans-Tel provides aerial, underground and wireless construction solutions that deliver high-speed internet broadband services in Oklahoma to homeowners, businesses, schools and institutions.
Trans-Tel is currently directing all available resources and working extra hours with their customers to provide high-speed internet broadband services to support the additional demands of work-from-home, telework, online education and remote access needs during this time.
Based in Norman with a nationwide reach, Trans-Tel is available to assist internet service providers across the state of Oklahoma with their system, service, maintenance and infrastructure needs.
For inquiries or more information: 405.447.5025 or http://www.trans-tel.com/contact_us.html.
Totah has two locations of Wi-Fi access in Oklahoma for the Caney Valley School System and area residents of Ochelata. Caney Valley has Wi-Fi access at the football field, and Ochelata has access at the baseball facility.
All of these locations have ample parking so that citizens can practice social distancing.
Totah continues to work with customers to avoid service interruptions during this time. This includes amending non-payment procedures, upgrading the core ring network for greater capacity, and upgrading the backhaul to the internet backbone.
Windstream has signed the FCC’s Keep America Connected Pledge. Through May 12, 2020, Windstream will not suspend a customer’s service because of an inability to pay their bills due to business disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Also, during this unprecedented time, Windstream will waive any late fees caused by a customer’s economic circumstances directly related to the coronavirus pandemic.