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As the coronavirus continues to spread, it means more people are going to stay and learn or work from home. Having adequate bandwidth becomes more important for remote learning and teleworking.

Internet providers to enhance speeds for cheapest plans

Usually, the problem will be the data cap that used to be painless, but it now appears uncomfortably close. As a measure to keep Americans, online AT&T announced last week that it would suspend the overage fees for its broadband subscribers. This is if they surpass the 150GB cap on its slowest package. In a similar move, the largest internet provider, Comcast, indicated on Friday that it was suspending the 60-days 1 terabyte cap with CenturyLink also suspending its 1TB cap.

On Friday, Cable behemoth Cox stated that it will enhance internet speeds for various residential packages for clients working from home. Equally, they will extend support services for web conferencing and online classroom support services. 

Despite all these measures, there is still a large number of Americans who do not have home broadband to begin with. According to a Pew Research Centre survey released last year, around 27% of Americans didn’t have wired broadband service.  Although smartphones can do most of the daily activities, they nonetheless cannot help when it comes to online learning and web conferencing.

Operators to offer free Wi-Fi hotspots

Ajit Pai, the Federal Communications Commission chairman, asked internet providers last week not to terminate the service of customers who were behind on their payments. He also challenged them to open Wi-Fi hotspots that they reserve for their customers to the public. By Friday afternoon, around 69 companies had signed in, including wireless carriers and major internet providers.

Large cable operators that provide cable Wi-Fi hotspots will avail Wi-Fi to people, and the networks cover sufficient ground such that outsiders could soon be connecting to these free networks available under “SpectrumWiFi,” “optimumwifi,” “CoxWiFi,” and “xfinitywifi.”

Although one can use a mobile hotspot, there is a cap on the amount of data you can use for these functions on wireless plans sold as “unlimited.”