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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: Sept. 24, 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.

 

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.
  • Effective April 6, 2020, residential fiber internet installations will be available on a limited case-by-case basis. An Adams representative will reach out to customers who have been approved for installation.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Pay by phone by calling 877-696-4611, option 4
  • https://followthefiber.net
AT&T
  • Offering internet access for qualifying limited income households at $10 a month or less through their Access from AT&T program/
  • Waive home Internet data overage charges for AT&T Internet customers through Sept. 30, 2020.
  • Keep 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.
  • 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 for the rest of 2020.
  • 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
  • Technicians have been trained on procedures to promote cleanliness and help prevent the spread of illness for at-home visits.
  • More about Dish’s response.
Earthlink
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
Mediacom
  • Beginning with the September billing cycle and continuing through the end of 2020, Mediacom will provide up to 100 gigabytes of additional data to any broadband customer that exceeds their monthly data allowance for free.
  • Xtream WiFi Free For Everyone: Providing complimentary access to all Mediacom Xtream Wi-Fi Hotspots where they are available.
  • More about Mediacom’s response.

 

RCN
SilverIP
  • Concierge support team is available by phone or email.
  • Will work with customers who are unable to pay their bills due to COVID-19.
  • More about SilverIP’s response.
Spectrum
Sprint (Has merged with T-Mobile)
  • 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.
  • 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
Verizon
  • Extending offer of $20 discount and waiving the first 60 days of router rental charges for new customers who qualify for their low-income offer through the end of 2020.
  • More about Verizon’s response.
Viasat

 

Utility Companies (UPDATED: July 2, 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. In June, the ICC approved a new consumer protection plan for utility customers in response to the pandemic. Read CUB’s fact sheet about the plan. 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
Aqua
Illinois
  • Emergencies or to speak to someone about your account or billing information: 1-877-987-2782
  • AquaAmerica.com
ComEd
  • 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
  • Emergencies or to speak to someone about your account or billing information: 1-800-422-2782
  • amwater.com/ilaw
MidAmerican Energy
  • Offers 18 month deferred payment arrangements to residential customers and master-metered apartment buildings before disconnection for 6 months after the
    Stipulated Moratorium Period ends (June 26th, 2020);
  • Waive deposits for new residential customers, residential customers with credit problems, residential customers with slow payment, and non-residential customers with slow payment for 6 months after the Stipulated Moratorium Period ends;
  • Suspends disconnection for nonpayment and the imposition of new late fees for nonpayment for 30 days after the Stipulated Moratorium Period ends;
  • MidAmerican Energy Company will apply an amount of $100,000 to its COVID-19 Electric Residential Bill Payment Assistance Program and $175,000 to its COVID-19 Gas Residential Bill Payment Assistance Program.
  • 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
  • Emergencies, or to speak to someone about your account or billing information: 1-888-642-6748
  • Nicorgas.com
Peoples/North Shore Gas