A Complete Guide to Internet Service during the Novel Coronavirus Outbreak
As coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread at a dramatically fast rate across the globe, the government has enforced lockdown in an effort to contain the pandemic. Even the health officials have advised residents to put all non-essential activities on hold and self-quarantine themselves in their homes.
The famous places that were once crowded with the hustle and bustle of daily life are totally vacant now as strict measures to keep people apart have been put in place.
We are social animals after all and a situation like this is unbearable for us. But, let’s not forget that we all are in this together and we always have the online world to rely on.
Thanks to high-speed internet, we can carry on with our lives and work during these unprecedented times, regardless of location and time.
The novel coronavirus outbreak has forced more employees to work from home. Most universities and colleges have also gone completely online in response. Hence, the internet has become more crucial than ever.
However, given the financial constraints this pandemic is causing, affording internet at regular prices has become difficult for a lot of people, but the internet service providers have generously introduced a lot of programs to help their customers.
There must be a lot of questions regarding internet services in your mind and we are here to answer them. We have put together a list of queries about internet access in these dire times. So, let’s dive right in!
Can I get free internet service during the novel coronavirus outbreak?
There are a variety of internet providers out there who understand your increasing online needs during this pandemic, hence, they are offering free services for those who struggle to pay their bills. However, you have to qualify for these services as per provider’s eligibility criteria.
If you qualify for a low-income program, you can get free internet service during the novel COVID-19 pandemic for at least two months. Most of the programs have been designed for students and would probably need you to prove that you have a student in your family.
Take a look at a list of internet providers offering free and low-cost internet during the ongoing for more details.
Internet (Speeds up to 100 Mbps with no installation charges) Internet (Speeds up to 30 Mbps with no installation charges, data caps, includes free modem)
All new customers who have K–12 or college students in the household. Those who qualify for National School Lunch Program (NSLP), Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) of the NSLP, Supplemental and Security Income (for applicants age 65 only)
Internet (Speeds up to 25 Mbps with no installation charges via Internet First Program)
All new customers who qualify for National School Lunch Program, housing assistance, Medicaid, SNAP, SSI, and others.
Free 25 Mbps for 60 days ($9.95/mo. after)
Will my internet service be halted if I am unable to pay my bill on time during the coronavirus pandemic?
In case you are worried about your internet service will be terminated during the novel pandemic, then we have good news for you — your internet service won’t be halted even if you fail to pay your bill on time. Yes, you read it right- Federal Communications Commission has made sure that every major internet service provider in the U.S signs the Keep Americans Connected Pledge. This means that FCC just wants to ensure that no one loses their internet access during this time.
Any U.S. internet service provider that has signed the pledge agrees to do the following things:
Not dismiss or terminate internet service for small business or residential customers if they find it difficult to pay their bills on time
Give access to public Wi-Fi hotspots to ensure that everyone has internet access
Waive late fees incurred if a small business or residential customer is unable to pay their bill
Will my internet data cap be affected due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak?
In addition to signing the Federal Communications Commission’s Keep Americans Connected Pledge, some of the top internet service providers are lifting their data caps. Not only these providers are relaxing and/or lifting data caps but they are also waiving overage charges for the next two months or longer.
Here is a list of internet providers that have temporarily lifted their data caps during COVID-19 pandemic:
Can I switch my internet service provider during the novel COVID-19 outbreak?
Since you are indoors with only the online world to your rescue you, your online needs must have skyrocketed. There is a good chance that your existing connection is not enough to keep up with all your social-distancing activities online. If this is the case, then you must consider switching your internet provider to get unbeatable service that can better handle your current online needs.
You can easily switch internet service providers or plans even during the pandemic. However, it would be even better to negotiate with your current provider about an upgrade. It will certainly save you from the hassle of getting a new connection, and you might even end up getting a better offer with a pocket-friendly price.
In case switching is the only option for you, just be sure that you are not under a contract agreement before you make a switch, otherwise, you will have to pay an early-termination fee. Make a wise decision by opting for a provider that offers discounts and bonuses to its new customers.
Even if you are in an agreement with your existing provider, your savings on the new internet sign-up will balance the early-termination fee.
Will I experience slow internet speed due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak?
You may experience slow internet speeds since everyone is attending online classes, working from the comfort of their homes, learning new skills, video calling friends and family, streaming TV shows and movies online. Due to the unexpected spike in the traffic and subsequent network congestion, the network infrastructure of your internet service provider and your home network could run into some speed issues.
Tip: Whether you want to check your current internet speed or you have doubt that your internet is slower than usual, then it would be ideal run an internet speed test. This is one of the best ways to find out the speeds you are working with.
In case your connections is slow even though you are getting the right internet speed, chances are there is an issue with your home network. You might be experiencing this issue because your entire family is using internet at the same time. It might also be because you have not upgraded your equipment.
How much internet speed do I need to work from home?
If you are working from home to play your part in containing the spread of the virus, then 30 Mbps is a good internet speed. However, the speed you need to work from home largely depends on the kind of sites you access, the number of files you download and who else is using the internet. In some cases when you are streaming or gaming, you need higher speeds, but you can do away with slow speeds if you are only surfing.
Attending meetings via video conference calls will certainly use more internet speed than audio calls or emailing your coworkers. In case your entire family is working from home, you might have to upgrade your package to get more bandwidth and speed.
Stay Home, Stay Safe
Staying at home for indefinite periods can certainly be frustrating, but we all are in this together. Thanks to technology and the internet, you can now spend time at home without losing your mind. So, play some games, watch some movies, learn a new skill and before you know it, we will be out of it.