Citing Civic Duty, AT&T Opens Data Access, Boosts At-Home Learning in Wake of COVID-19

Dave Moore, Staff Writer

As social distancing has become a primary firebreak to stop the spread of COVID-19, Dallas-based AT&T has launched initiatives that allow workers, students, and emergency responders to stay connected.

The telecom provider has lifted caps on home internet data usage, including unlimited broadband. The firm has also bolstered at-home learning, with the March 20 announcement of a $1 million donation to the Khan Academy from AT&T’s newly created Distance Learning and Family Connections Fund. The day before, on March 19, AT&T expanded its service for limited income individuals – called Access from AT&T – to include households participating in the National School Lunch Program. The company also announced it is helping businesses and universities set up virtual offices and classrooms with conference call and video conferencing with Cisco Webex Meetings with AT&T.

Further, AT&T announced it wouldn’t terminate its wireless, home phone, or broadband residential/small business service due to a customer’s inability to pay bills as a result of COVID-19.

“Connectivity is always essential to our customers – doctors and nurses, first responders, governments, banks, grocery stores, pharmacies, and others delivering vital services,” wrote Jeff McElfresh, CEO of AT&T Communications, in a March 18 letter to customers. “It’s even more critical during a public health crisis that’s challenging everyone. In fact, as a critical infrastructure provider, AT&T views it as our civic duty to step up and keep our customers and communities connected.”