Rural and Independent Broadband Providers Going the Extra Mile to ‘Keep Americans Connected’
For Immediate Release
Contact: Ted Hearn
PITTSBURGH, March 24, 2020 – ACA Connects recognizes the outstanding efforts of all our members who are working tirelessly to ensure that their networks remain robust and support the needs of their customers and their communities during the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
Clearly, broadband access is vital as our country addresses this current health emergency. ACA Connects members, operating in hundreds of small cities and towns, have moved rapidly to provide the services their neighbors need to keep working, learning, and taking care of family members.
“Whether it’s participating in Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai’s ‘Keep Americans Connected’ pledge or ensuring that networks are capable of expanding to adjust to the increasing numbers who depend on them, it’s all part of today’s daily to-do list for our members,” ACA Connects President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.
“Our broadband networks are the key for our communities. We know that our customers are working from home, downloading school homework and projects, and video conferencing with work colleagues and family members. These new habits are imposing new demands on the networks. We are proud to report that ACA Connects broadband operators are busy at work to ensure their networks will meet these novel challenges,” he said.
Patricia Jo Boyers, Chairman of the ACA Connects Board of Directors and President of BOYCOM Vision, underscored her own company’s role serving rural America with advanced video and communications in response to the coronavirus crisis. Mrs. Boyers owns and operates a small, rural cable and broadband company with her husband, Steve, in Poplar Bluff, Mo., a venture they began 28 years ago and today serves about 3,000 customers.
“The entire BOYCOM team understands how important our services are to keep our customers connected, and we are taking the necessary steps to maintain the service and quality they expect during this emergency out here in the rural boot heel of Missouri,” she said.
“We at ACA Connects have talked with our members all over the country, and you can bet they are on top of this problem,” Mrs. Boyers added.
ACA Connects has added to its www.ACAConnects.org website a new COVID-19 page and a full roster of resources and listings of members who are making unprecedented contributions to their communities, including a current list of ACA Connects members who signed Chairman Pai’s pledge.
Some of the highlights showcasing the pro-consumer efforts of ACA Connects members include:
· 60 days of free standard high-speed Internet service and free installation to any home that is the primary home of a student in kindergarten through high school, in technical school, in college or in graduate school;
· Opening WiFi hotspots across the company’s footprint for public use to keep individuals and communities connected to the online resources they want and need;
· Increasing the speed of all eligible small business and residential broadband data customers at no additional charge regardless of their current plan, and waiving all installation fees for new broadband data subscribers and increasing data allowances for those customers whose current rate plan includes a monthly data allowance.
· Working with local schools that have been ordered not to hold in-person classes to identify students whose families cannot afford Internet access; and
· Making unlimited data available on all Internet services for the next 30 days and waiving late fees for its customers for the next 60 days, and offering payment deferrals to customers who call to make arrangements.
“Our ACA Connects members are going to get this job done,” said Mrs. Boyers. “And when this is over our members will have played a critical role to keep everyone connected.”