Call on Internet providers to step up their response to the COVID-19 crisis

 

UPDATE May 28, 2020: Distributel has ended data caps FOREVER! 🎉   Effective immediately, their 90-day pause on Internet overage charges is now permanent for all capped plans.1 Other ISPs are feeling the squeeze—we've got to keep up the pressure!

 


 

Millions of us are being asked to remain at home, and schools and workplaces shift their operations online. But many people across the country don’t have access to reliable high-speed Internet, exposing a massive digital divide. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have a crucial role to play in stepping up to ensure everyone has the Internet access they need by:

  1. Immediately ending data caps;
  2. Committing to not disconnect people during the crisis;
  3. Opening their existing WiFi hotspots to the public, and creating new public access points.

Send a Tweet to your ISP to publicly call on them to take immediate steps to ensure everyone who needs Internet access during the crisis can get it:

*Please note that you need to have an active Twitter account to complete this action.

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As of late March 2020 most Canadian provinces and cities have closed schools, restricted the movement of people, and forced non-essential worksites to shut down. Millions of people now rely on the Internet to work, study, buy medicine and stay connected, but for many people in low income and rural communities that lack affordable high speed Internet access, that is simply not a viable option. 

People that have reasonable service now are also at risk. With hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs, it’s likely many will not be able to pay their utilities and Internet bills in the coming weeks and months. But people who are navigating the economic downturn will still need to use the Internet to access health information and educational and training opportunities - let alone to stay connected with their community. 

While this is a systemic issue that will require government intervention and funding, ISPs can and should step up immediately to do their part and ensure anyone who can access their networks is able to do so. We are asking all companies to end data caps, commit to not disconnect people due to financial difficulties, open up their existing WiFi hotspots, and consult their local municipal authorities to identify useful and appropriate new publicly available WiFi locations they could provide. By doing so they will help to ensure more people have Internet access during the crisis. 

Some companies have already stepped up, while we are waiting for others to take further action. You can see what different ISPs have done to date in the charts below. Make sure you send a tweet to the ISPs in your region, calling on them to act now! 

 

National providers End data caps Stop disconnections
Provide basic services for
those who need it
Bell Yes, until April 30th ? ?
Telus Yes, until April 30th Yes, until further notice All WiFi hotspots are free
rogers Yes, until May 31 Offering flexible payment options and stopping disconnections for 90 days ?
Regional providers      
Shaw All plans are unlimited Offering flexible payment options Offering free access to all of its Wi-Fi hotspots
TekSavvy Yes, until April 30 ? ?
Distributel 🎉  Yes, FOREVER!  🎉 ? ?
Cogeco Yes, until April 30 Yes, until further notice ?
Iristel Yes ? ?
Sasktel Yes, until April 30 Yes, for 6 months ?
Videotron Yes, until April 30 ? ?
Xplornet Yes, until May 31 ? ?
CIKtelecom All plans are unlimited ? ?
eastlink Yes, timeframe TBD Offering flexible payment options ?
Cablevision ? ? ?
Execulink Yes, until April 30th ? ?
MNSi All plans are unlimited ? ?
FibreStream All plans are unlimited ? ?
novus All plans are unlimited ? ?
Seaside communications All plans are unlimited ? ?
SSi No, they only provide satellite Internet ? ?
tbaytel Yes, for fixed Internet plans Offering flexible payment options Offering free wi-fi hotspots
All plans are unlimited ? ?
? ? ?
Yes ? ?
     

Press: Laura Tribe | Phone: +1 (888) 441-2640 ext. 0 |  laura@openmedia.org

 

1. Distributel Permanently Waives Data Overage Charges on all Internet Plans: Newswire