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Verizon, AT&T help customers amid outbreak

Verizon and AT&T have made changes for customers facing hardships as the result of mass layoffs and health concerns as the novel coronavirus continues to spread.

Verizon sent a push notification to customers Friday announcing that it had added 15 gigabytes of data to each customer’s account free of charge, for use from March 25 to April 30.

Through May 13, the company has said it won’t charge late fees or terminate service for customers who can’t pay their phone bills. Any customers who faces hardship is asked to fill out an online form or contact customer support to notify the company. More information on how to do that is available at verizon.com/support/consumer/announcements/covid-19. Verizon is also offering free international calls through the end of April to countries severely impacted by the pandemic, according to its website.

AT&T announced Thursday it is also temporarily waiving late fees. The company also pledged not to terminate any customer’s service because of inability to pay as a result of coronavirus-related disruptions. The company also said it would waive data, voice and text overages, and home internet customers would have no cap on data. Customers facing financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus are encouraged to call 800-288-2020.

Some Verizon and AT&T stores will close. For now, the Saranac Lake Verizon store at 38 Main St. is still open its normal hours from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day apart from Sunday, when the store is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The AT&T store in Malone is temporarily closed, but the Plattsburgh location is still open.

Both AT&T and Verizon made changes to its service after FCC Chairman Ajit Pai issued a plea on March 13 for broadband providers to sign his “Keep America Connected Pledge.” Pai asked that companies not terminate service for customers who can’t afford to pay their bill for the next 60 days, and waive late fees for those who can’t pay. Companies with Wi-Fi hotspots were also asked to keep them open for anyone who may need them for the next 60 days.

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