Telecommunications & the Response to COVID-19

Low-income families across New York City continue to bear the brunt of the pandemic's health and fiscal fallout. More than 1.5 million New Yorkers lack an internet connection at home or through a mobile device, and millions more have limited broadband service because they cannot afford it.

The digital divide heavily impacts access to employment, banking, healthcare, and government services, but nowhere is its weight more pronounced right now than in our public schools. As this pandemic continues to impact our students, the City has taken bold action to address bridging the digital divide.

The City's telecommunications service providers have been asked to do their part to step up and support those in need. Internet, phone, and cable television services are essential services. The companies that provide these have pledged to support critical services and those working or learning from home.

If you are having problems with your service, billing, installation, or equipment call or visit 311 to submit a complaint.

Internet Access Opportunities for Students & Low-Income Families

The major internet providers in the city have low-cost internet access options for qualifying households. Find out more about free and low-cost internet options for students and families.

Wi-Fi Access

Altice and Charter have opened their Wi-Fi hotspots to all users, not only subscribers. Find many of the locations throughout the city where you can access free Wi-Fi.

Most Providers' Service is Unaffected by More People Working or Learning from Home

Most internet providers are reporting higher levels of usage while many people work or attend class from home. However, wired service is largely unaffected by this higher usage. Users of wireless internet services may experience some congestion.

What Should I Do If I Need a Technician to Come Fix My Service?

Technicians are visiting homes and businesses to address service issues during the Covid-19 pandemic. If you or someone in your home or business has the virus or has been exposed to the virus, and you have been told to quarantine or self-isolate, technicians should not visit your house against the orders of a doctor or other healthcare professional.

For other visits, technicians should wear Personal Protective Equipment to reduce the risk of spreading the virus or contracting it themselves.