COVID-19 Broadband Resources
Broadband access is more important than ever as many Tennesseans have been instructed to stay home from work and school as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Accessibility is critical to meet our needs for education, telemedicine, telecommuting, and overall quality of life.
Below you will find resources to help navigate through this uncertain time.
TNECD’s Response: Staying Connected During the COVID-19 Quarantine
FCC Emergency Broadband Benefit Program: The FCC's list of providers who are participating in the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program to help households struggling to pay for internet service during the pandemic. The EBB will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute $10-$50 toward the purchase price.
FCC’s Keep Americans Connected: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the challenges that many Americans will face in the coming months, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai recently announced the Keep Americans Connected Initiative. In order to ensure that Americans do not lose their broadband or telephone connectivity as a result of these exceptional circumstances, he specifically asked broadband and telephone service providers, and trade associations, to take the Keep Americans Connected Pledge. Check to see if your provider has signed the pledge.
FCC Lifeline Rules Waived: The FCC announced changes to waive Lifeline program rules to assist program participants potentially affected by the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic and aid community efforts to slow its spread. The Lifeline program plays an important role in ensuring that low-income Americans have access to affordable communications services by providing monthly discounts on broadband and voice services to qualifying consumers.
Free and Low-Cost Internet Plans: NDIA’s list of current offers from major ISPs that will help low-income households to acquire service at no cost, or at very affordable prices. Most have eligibility limitations linked to income or program enrollment. The list also includes established, nationally available low-cost plans offered by nonprofit organizations.
TechforLearners: As part of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s COVID-19 technology initiative, American technology companies were called on to make online learning resources more accessible for teachers, parents, and students. As a result, the technology industry has launched a new resource for educators, administrators, and public officials who are turning to online learning as coronavirus response disrupts the school year.
TSIN Educational Resources: Parents, teachers, and students are adjusting to life at home and learning remotely. The Tennessee Stem Innovation Network team has pulled together a list of some of their favorite educational resources.
Hot Spot Locations
Click the links below for hot spot maps for each broadband provider. Comcast, for instance, has made their Xfinity WiFi hotspots located in businesses and outdoor locations available to anyone for free – including non-Xfinity internet subscribers.
- Ben Lomand Connect Hotspots (Coffee, Cumberland, Grundy, Franklin, Van Buren, Warren, White)
- BrightRidge Public Wi-Fi (Sullivan, Washington)
- Charter Spectrum Hotspots (statewide)
- Comcast Xfinity Hotspots (statewide)
- EPB Quick Connect (Hamilton)
- Gibson Connect (Crockett, Dyer, Gibson, Haywood, Lake, Madison, Obion)
- MyMLEC Wi-Fi Locations (Hickman, Houston, Humphreys, Lewis, Perry)
- Loretto Telecom (Lawrence)
In response to the quarantine, several broadband providers are temporarily offering free internet service, waiving disconnect and late fees, providing access to wi-fi hot spots, reducing data-usage limitations and other measures to help people at home access the services they need. Click on your provider below to learn the steps they're taking to address connectivity needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Century Link
- Charter Communications
- Google Fiber
- Tennessee Broadband Association
- Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association
Broadband Provider Operational Resources
As broadband providers continue to maintain your operations during the pandemic so that communities can access the connectivity they need, find instructions below for protecting your workforce such as what to do for your employees and facilities as well as guidelines regarding manufacturing and plant operations from the University of Tennessee’s Institute of Public Service