On Sunday, March 15, 2020, the Commission published a News Release announcing that it has granted Special Temporary Authority to T-Mobile U.S.A. (“T-Mobile”) to use additional spectrum in the 600 MHz band for 60 days to help the company meet increased consumer demand for broadband during the coronavirus pandemic.
T-Mobile requested this STA to participate in telehealth, distance learning, telework while social distancing, and to meet the needs of first responders during this time. This spectrum was either held in FCC inventory or by other licenses that have consented to T-Mobile’s temporary use of the spectrum.
The Commission’s decision is the latest in a series of steps to keep Americans connected for the next 60 days during the coronavirus outbreak. Last Friday, Chairman Pai launched the Keep Americans Connected Pledge (“Pledge”) to seek support from major broadband and telephone service providers and trade associations to ensure that Americans do not lose their broadband or telephone connectivity as a result of the public health situation. The Pledge calls for companies: (i) not to terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic; (ii) waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances; and (iii) open Wi-Fi hotspots to Americans in need. As of March 16, over 185 broadband and telephone providers across the country have since signed on to the Pledge, including Dish, Comcast, LB License Co., Channel 51, Omega, Bluewater, and TStar License Holdings.
For more information on the FCC’s actions related to the coronavirus pandemic, visit https://www.fcc.gov/coronavirus.
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