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Attorneys General urges FCC to get Telecomms to sign pledge to keep people plugged in during pandemic

Politics

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Attorneys Generals from more than two dozen states are urging the Federal Communications Commission to help protect consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We all depend on telecommunications, phone, internet, cell phone, landline, email, text, social media for life right now,” explained Attorney General William Tong, (D) Connecticut.

Money is tight and people are prioritizing their bills. In Connecticut alone, 402,000 people have applied for unemployment as of Thursday.

RELATED: CT DOL has processed 327,000 unemployment applications since mid-March

AG Tong says people have been calling his office: “They are worried about their cable, their internet, their cell phones, their land lines.”

He admits there have been reports of people getting service cut and his office is looking into the complaints.

AG Tong says telecommunication companies should not only extend their pledge to keep folks connected, but need to offer money-saving solutions, emphasizing “this is our lifeline to the outside world. It’s so important that the major telecommunications companies keep us plugged in.”

The Attorney’s General pledge includes:

  • No shut off for non-payment until August 11, 2020
  • Expand cell phone data – no overage charge
  • Waive late fees
  • Give customers payment plan to catch up
  • Open wifi hot spots
  • Inform customers about COVID-19-related scams
  • Reconnect lines for FREE

RELATED: AG Tong, Dept. of Consumer Protection give guidance on spotting scams asking for charitable giving during coronavirus pandemic

Not having working phone lines during a crisis can be scary. A few weeks ago News 8 profiled elderly and disabled folks who didn’t have service.

They have since been reconnected by COX Communications.

RELATED: Wethersfield residents report phone outages during pandemic, say COX Communications isn’t helping

Attorney General Tong’s advice?

“You think you have a right that has been violated – you’ve tried everything you can do, no one is calling you back – or worse they are affirmatively being nasty to you – then yeah you should call the office of the attorney general and we will weigh in.”

Tong is hoping to get as many companies signed on to this pledge as possible so Connecticut residents can have peace-of-mind.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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