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CUB’s guide: Telecom/internet/cable/utility services during the COVID-19 public health emergency

CUB has compiled a list of benefits utilities and telecom/internet/cable providers are offering customers during the COVID-19 crisis.

Details on the response of telecom/internet/cable providers are immediately below. Scroll down to see the second chart outlining the response of electric, gas and water utilities.

CUB is reviewing this list on a weekly basis and will make every effort to keep it up to date. However, if you have any specific questions, we recommend you contact companies directly.

Telecom/Internet/Cable Companies (UPDATED: May 11, 2020)

Note: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced it will temporarily waive Lifeline program rules to make it easier for consumers to stay on or apply for the program. Also, see the FCC’s info page on COVID-19.

FCC will be waiving lifeline ”

Company Response Contacts
Adams Net
  • Effective March 18, 2020, will be temporarily limiting access to our Golden and Quincy offices by closing lobbies to customer traffic to maximize social distancing between customers and employees.
  • Will continue to provide 24/7 Internet, Phone, and TV technical support at 877-502-3267.
  • Adams Experts services will remain available by appointment only by calling 217-214-3423, option 3 and via Remote Support.
  • If you have an in-home consultation, installation, or repairs that require a premise visit you will be asked to reschedule if anyone in your household is experiencing symptoms of a highly contagious illness. Call 217-214-3423 to re-schedule.
  • Pay online via the SmartHub website or use the free mobile app. Don’t have a SmartHub account? Use the Pay Now feature.
  • Pay by phone by calling 877-696-4611, option 4
  • Pay by mail by sending payments to: Adams, PO Box 217, Golden, IL 62339
  • Pay at office drop boxes at either of their locations. Be sure to include your account number with your payment.
  • More about Adams Net’s response.
  • 4/7 Internet, Phone, and TV technical support at 877-502-3267.
  • Adams Experts services will remain available by appointment only by calling 217-214-3423, option 3 and via Remote Support.
  • Pay by phone by calling 877-696-4611, option 4
  • https://followthefiber.net
AT&T
  • Will not terminate any postpaid wireless, home phone or broadband residential or small business account through June 30, 2020
  • Waive any late payment fees for postpaid wireless, home phone or broadband residential or small business, U-verse TV or DIRECTV customer through June 30, 2020
  • Waive domestic postpaid wireless plan overage charges for data, voice or text for residential or small business wireless customers through June 30, 2o20. 
  • Keep our public Wi-Fi hotspots open for anyone who needs them.
  • More info about AT&T’s response.
  • AT&T broadband, residential wireless or small business customers having difficulty paying bills: 1-800-288-2020
  • Wireless customers: 611 from your AT&T device.
  • Att.com
Comcast
  • TIP: If you’re having trouble paying your bills, make sure to contact Comcast. The company says it will not disconnect a customer’s internet service or assess late fees if that customer contacts the company to let it know he/she can’t pay the bills during this period.
  • Comcast has announced they will extend its commitments for Xfinity customers through June 30, 2020 to help ensure students can finish out the school year from home and remain connected to the internet during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Customers who have been impacted by quarantines or closures and need more time to pay their bills for Xfinity TV, Internet, Home or home phone services should log into xfinity.com/myaccount. Select Billing, then Bill and Payment Settings. Click on Schedule a Payment. Then go to Payment Date and choose a new due date.
  • Making Comcast Wifi hotspots available to anyone who needs them for free–including non-Xfinity Internet customers.
  • Pausing data plans through June 30, 2020, giving all customers unlimited data for no additional charge. (If you still see fees on your bill for internet data plans, your next bill will reflect any credits due to you starting from March 13th. Customers can pay the full amount on this bill and any overpayment will be applied to the next bill.)
  • Low-income families who live in a Comcast service area can sign up for 60 days of free Internet Essentials service, which is normally available to all qualified low-income households for $9.95/month.
  • Increasing Internet speeds for the Internet Essentials service from 15/2 Mbps to 25/3 Mbps for all new and existing customers, which will be the service speed going forward.
  • More on Comcast’s response.
Dish
Earthlink
  • Pledges for the next 60 days (as of March 16, 2020) to not terminate the service of any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bill due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Not charging late payment fees residential or small business customers may incur because of economic hardship related to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • More about Earthlink’s response.
Frontier
  • Anticipating increased demand for connectivity services, Frontier is proactively implementing even more capacity.
  • Frontier High-Speed Internet has no data caps, Frontier customers have unlimited data usage worry free.
  • More about Frontier’s response.
 HughesNet
  • Will not terminate service or impose penalties or fees on those who cannot pay due to the impact of the coronavirus.
  • Increased the speed you receive if you exceed the amount of data in your monthly service plan.
  • Optimized network traffic to prioritize educational and business collaboration software, especially during daytime hours.
  • Increasing the amount of available capacity across the network and providing more data for users who have exceeded their data plan.
  • More about HughesNet’s response.
Mediacom

 

RCN
  • For those experiencing financial hardship as a result of recent events pertaining to COVID-19, special arrangements can be made available to keep your services active.
  • Deferring payments and waiving late fees due to economic situations caused by COVID-19 coronavirus.
  • Providing a Free Trial of favorite channels and On Demand content. 
  • More about RCN’s response.
SilverIP
  • Constantly monitoring the network to ensure it is fast and reliable.
  • Concierge support team is  available by phone or email.
  • SilverIP has business continuity protocols in place to ensure that the network and support team are able to continue serving you through these difficult times.
  • More about SilverIP’s response.
Spectrum
  • Won’t terminate service through June 30, 2020 for residential or small business customers who face difficult economic circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Won’t charge late fees for those customers facing difficult economic circumstances related to the pandemic through June 30, 2020.
  • If you’re sick or under quarantine due to partial exposure and need to return equipment, Spectrum will extend your return window by 60 days. After you’ve been cleared by a medical professional, you can return your equipment via the nearest UPS or Spectrum Store.
  • Self-service solutions for installing new equipment or managing your account. 
  • My Spectrum App to pay your bill, troubleshoot service and more.
  • Use Spectrum.net to manage your account and troubleshoot service.
  • Spectrum Mobile customers can visit mobile.spectrum.com/support or download the Spectrum Mobile Account App for support and account management.
  • If you need to get new equipment or swap existing equipment, in most cases Spectrum can ship it to your home for self-installation.
  • Opening WiFi hotspots across their footprint for public use.
  • Continuing to offer Spectrum Internet Assist, Spectrum’s high-speed broadband program to eligible low-income households.
  • Offering new free access to internet and WiFi through June 30, 2020 for new Pre-K to 12, college student and teacher households who don’t currently have internet or WiFi service.
  • More about Spectrum’s response.
Sprint
  • Providing unlimited data for 60 days to customers with metered data plans (effective 3/18).
  • Providing 20 GB Mobile Hotspot per month per line to any customer who has a capable handset and does not have Mobile Hotspot for 60 days (or a minimum of 2 bill cycles).
  • Providing 20 GB Mobile Hotspot per month per line for customers who already have Mobile Hotspot in their plan for 60 days (or a minimum of 2 bill cycles).
  • Offering complimentary rates from the U.S. to CDC-defined Level 3 countries to customers with international long-distance plans (effective 3/17).
  • Working with T-Mobile to give access to their network, so customers can get more coverage nationwide.
  • Encouraging customers to enable Wi-Fi calling on their devices.
  • More info about Sprint’s response.
  • Customer support: 1-888-211-4727
  • Chat with Sprint online at sprint.com.
T-Mobile
  • If you are past-due, you can set up a payment arrangement.
  • Providing unlimited high-speed smartphone data to current customers who have legacy plans without unlimited high-speed data (excluding roaming) through June 30, 2020.
  • Giving T-Mobile postpaid and Metro by T-Mobile customers on smartphone plans with mobile hotspot data the ability to add 10GB of Smartphone Mobile HotSpot each month for the next two months (20GB total) through June 30, 2020 (excluding T-Mobile Connect)
  • T-Mobile customers on plans with smartphone mobile hotspot can add 20GB of smartphone mobile hotspot (10GB per bill cycle for the next 60 days)via myT-Mobile.com or the myT-Mobile app by adding the COVID-19 Response High Speed Smartphone Mobile HotSpot feature for each voice line. (T-Mobile Connect excluded)
  • Working with Lifeline partners to provide customers extra free data up to 5GB per month through June 30, 2020.
  • Increasing the data allowance, at no extra charge, to schools and students using our EmpowerED digital learning program to ensure each participant has access to at least 20GB of data per month through June 30, 2020.
  • Providing free international calling to landlines (and in many cases mobile numbers) to countries that were significantly impacted by COVID-19 through May 13, 2020.
  • Offering free shipping on devices until May 13th.
  • T-Mobile does not have an offer for 60 days of free service and encourages consumers to be cautious of social media posts that may include fraudulent numbers.
  • More info on T-Mobile’s response.
  • Residential and business customers: 611 from your phone
  • Manage your account and services, upgrade your phone and more in the T-Mobile App (in the App Store or Google Play) or My T-Mobile.
  • T-Mobile.com
US Cellular
  • Won’t charge late fees for those customers facing difficult economic circumstances related to the pandemic through June 30, 2020.
  • Will 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 through June 30, 2020.
  •  No matter what plan you’re on, you’ll continue to have the smartphone data you need and will not be charged for any overages through July 31, 2020.
  • Eliminated overage charges for legacy plans, including Shared Connect and other postpaid and prepaid plans with data limits, so you can use the data you need without worrying about your bill.
  • If you are currently on a limited 2GB or 6GB plan, your plan will not be throttled to 2G speeds at those thresholds.
  • Extra data provided beyond your plan will be delivered at speeds that are suitable for standard definition video quality.
  • If you’re on an Unlimited Everyday or Even Better plan, US Cellular has provided you an extra 15GB of hotspot data to adjust to any shifting and varying work arrangements.
  • More on US Cellular’s response.
Verizon
  • Waiving late fees for residential and small business customers if negatively impacted by the global crisis through June 30, 2020.
  • Adding an additional 15GB of 4G LTE data to consumer and small business* shared data plans, hotspots and jetpacks to be used  from May 1 through May 31.
  • Offering free international calling to countries identified by the CDC as level 3 impacted by the Coronavirus effective 3/18 through the end of April. This is available to wireless post-paid customers, small/medium business customers, and landline home phone customers. (Effective 3/19, wireless prepaid customers will also receive a total of 300 additional minutes to call level 3 countries.)
  • More about Verizon’s response.
Viasat
  • 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 through June 30, 2020.
  • Waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic through June 30, 2020.
  • Open its Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them through June 30, 2020.
  • More on Viasat’s response.

 

Utility Companies (UPDATED: May 11, 2020)

Note: On March 18, the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) directed all private utilities to suspend disconnections and late-payment charges until the COVID-19 state of emergency is lifted. Read CUB’s fact sheet about these directives. If you have reason to believe that your utility is not complying with the ICC directives, please call CUB at, 1-800-669-5556, to file a complaint.

UPDATE for all utility customers: If you have a question about assistance programs to help you pay your utility bills, call the State of Illinois Keep Warm Hotline at 1-877-411-WARM (9276). There, you can get information about applying for LIHEAP and/or the utility financial aid programs like ComEd CARE.

Company Response Contacts
Ameren Illinois
  • Under state-ordered moratorium on service disconnections for non-payment and late-payment penalties/fees for all customer classes.
  • More flexible payment plans to customers experiencing financial hardship.
  • More info about Ameren’s response.
Aqua
Illinois
  • Under state-ordered moratorium on service disconnections for non-payment and late-payment penalties/fees for all customer classes.
  • More flexible payment plans to customers experiencing financial hardship.
  • More info about Aqua’s response.
  • Emergencies or to speak to someone about your account or billing information: 1-877-987-2782
  • AquaAmerica.com
ComEd
  • Under state-ordered moratorium on service disconnections for non-payment and late-payment penalties/fees for all customer classes.
  • More flexible payment plans to customers experiencing financial hardship.
  • ComEd is voluntarily extending through at least June 1, 2020, its suspension of disconnections for customers who cannot afford to pay their electric bill. 
  • They are also extending their waiver of new late payment charges through the same period.
  • If you were disconnected prior to our suspension of disconnections, please contact the customer care team at 800-334-7661, M-F from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., so that they can work to safely restore your service.
  • More info about ComEd’s response.
  • Emergencies: 1-800-334-7661
  • Payment arrangements and credit issues, available from 7 am to 7 pm: 1-800-334-7661
  • ComEd.com  (Details about energy assistance options and to apply for these programs: ComEd.com/Care)
Illinois American
  • Under state-ordered moratorium on service disconnections for non-payment and late-payment penalties/fees for all customer classes.
  • More flexible payment plans to customers experiencing financial hardship.
  • TURNED WATER SERVICE BACK ON – For customers who were previously shutoff for non-payment, we’ve reinstated water service. This includes customers whose water service was turned off for non-payment of sewer service, even if Illinois American Water is not the sewer service provider.
  • More info about Illinois American’s response.
  • Emergencies or to speak to someone about your account or billing information: 1-800-422-2782
  • amwater.com/ilaw
MidAmerican Energy
  • Under state-ordered moratorium on service disconnections for non-payment and late-payment penalties/fees for all customer classes.
  • More flexible payment plans to customers experiencing financial hardship.
  • More info about MidAmerican’s response.
  • Residential Customers: 1-888-427-5632
  • Business Customer: 1-800-329-6261
  • Gas Emergencies: 1-800-595-5325
  • Electric Emergencies: 1-800-799-4443
  • Midamericanenergy.com
Nicor Gas
  • Under state-ordered moratorium on service disconnections for non-payment and late-payment penalties/fees for all customer classes.
  • More flexible payment plans to customers experiencing financial hardship.
  • More info about Nicor’s response.
  • Emergencies, or to speak to someone about your account or billing information: 1-888-642-6748
  • Nicorgas.com
Peoples/North Shore Gas