Coronavirus: Internet providers suspend data overage fees for home internet

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Rogers, Telus, Bell and TekSavvy are suspending data limits for home internet customers as telecommuting gains steam due to the new coronavirus.

Rogers and Telus said the vast majority of their clients have unlimited access but that those with limits won’t face penalties if they exceed their cap.

“…We are temporarily lifting data caps for our customers on different internet plans during this public health situation, as we continue to explore ways to assist our customers,” a spokesperson for Rogers said.

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A spokesperson for TekSavvy said it would stop charging overage fees until April. 5.

“This change has been automatically implemented and customers are not required to take any action. We hope that this will help TekSavvy customers during this public health situation,” TekSavvy CEO Marc Gaudrault said in a statement.

Bell is waiving any home internet data overage fees until April 30, the company said in a note to customers on Sunday.

Telus said its suspension would also be in effect until the end of April.

In addition, that company said it would waive roaming charges for Telus and Koodo customers who are stuck in hard-hit areas with a Level 3 travel advisory, such as China or Italy.

The company is also offering what it called flexible payment options.

“We don’t want anyone to worry about not being able to pay their bill on time if they have been financially affected by the crisis,” a spokesperson for Telus said in a statement.

In Western Canada, Shaw announced it will provide free access to all Shaw Go WiFi hotspots for all members of the public, regardless of whether they are a Shaw customer.

“As the world navigates through the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s become even more important for people to ensure they’re able to stay in touch with friends, families and loved ones, and for first responders to stay connected wherever they are,” incoming president Paul McAleese said in a statement.

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Telus is also expanding virtual healthcare through its app, which is available to residents of B.C. and Alberta.

The moves follow a similar announcement from AT&T in the U.S.

“Many of our AT&T internet customers already have unlimited home internet access, and we are waiving home internet data overage for the remaining customers,” a spokesperson told Global News.

“Additionally, through access from AT&T, we’ll continue to offer internet data to qualifying limited income households for $10 a month.”

A spokesperson for Shaw said the company does not charge overage fees.

In Canada, there are more than 150 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new virus. Health officials have urged Canadians to take precautions to limit the further spread of the disease.

Some workplaces — including Telus and e-commerce giant Shopify — have asked or encouraged employees to work from home.

— With files from Global News’ Maryam Shah and Sean Boynton

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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