Coronavirus and Connectivity

Through our Headlines news service, Benton is tracking the role of broadband in the response to coronavirus (COVID-19). Click on titles below for full summaries of articles and links to sources.

Prison Phone Providers Seek Fee Waiver on Calls Amid Coronavirus

As prisoners increase their reliance on phone visits during the new coronavirus, telecommunications companies are asking the Federal Communications Commission to waive a fee on inmates’ interstate and international calls.

Enhanced Wireless Emergency Alerts Available for Coronavirus Pandemic

The Federal Communications Commission's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB) reminds authorized alert originators, including state and local governments, that the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system is available as a tool to provid

Senators Markey, Van Hollen, Bennet, and Schatz Lead Colleagues in Renewed Push to Ensure All Students Can Continue Education Online During Coronavirus Pandemic

Sens Ed Markey (D-MA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Brian Schatz (D-HI) led 31 of their colleagues in a letter to House and Senate leadership requesting robust funding for all K-12 students to have adequate home internet con

Lawmakers look to infrastructure spending to help economy recover from coronavirus

Leaders in Washington signaled that they are looking to steer more money to infrastructure projects as a way to help the economy recover from the damage the virus has wrought. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and key lieutenants pitched an existi

FCC Provides Relief That Enables Rural Broadband And Phone Providers To Immediately Waive Consumer Fees

The Federal Communications Commission paved the way for hundreds of rural phone and broadband providers to waive fees that would otherwise be incurred by customers experiencing economic challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Telehealth Gets Whole New Boost From CMS

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will pay for a wider range of telemedicine services during the coronavirus pandemic including remote patient monitoring for both chronic and acute conditions, not just related to coronavirus treatment

Pandemic sparks a run on hotspot devices for students

The coronavirus pandemic has caused shortages of life-saving equipment like masks and ventilators — and now, we could be running low on Wi-Fi hotspots, devices that use cellular signals to create local networks. There are probably fewer than half

FCC Extends Key E-Rate Program Deadlines Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

The Federal Communications Commission announced extensions of key E-Rate service implementation and filing deadlines to provide relief to program participants affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Affordable Broadband Now and Later

Today, we face a health crisis that makes plain – again – the importance of broadband to all people in America.