By Wes Robinson, Regulatory Affairs
With all levels of government working to respond to the COVID-19 virus, the Texas Telephone Association (TTA) has been working with staff of the Public Utility Commission of Texas to ensure that our members are prepared and able to assist the communities across Texas where we serve customers.
TTA has endorsed the Federal Communications Commission’s Keep Americans Connected Pledge under which pledging member companies have agreed for a period of 60 days to waive late fees for residential or small business customers caused by economic circumstances associated with COVID-19. Additionally, such companies pledge not to terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus. Companies taking the pledge also agreed to open any existing Wi-Fi hotspots to anyone who needs them.
TTA is aware that member companies are taking additional steps above and beyond the Federal Communications Commission’s pledge to leverage their critical infrastructure to assist schools with distance learning in the wake of schools closing and shifting to educate students online as well as working to waive installation and equipment charges to connect citizens in our members’ service areas so they can implement social distancing tactics recommended by government officials. TTA’s members’ networks enable customers to access telemedicine resources, implement remote work practices, engage in online commerce to obtain needed supplies, and remain connected with friends and family during these stressful times.
Some of TTA’s members have been providing critical connectivity within their communities for more than 100 years. Our members are experienced in providing reliable telecommunications services to their service areas, and we are ready and able to help Texans weather this storm.