Technology Verizon is canceling home internet installations during the pandemic
Verizon will provide free internet to students in Los Angeles
Verizon will provide free internet access to all students who need it in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the company announced today. This could help as many as 100,000 students continue to learn while schools are closed. Reliable internet access is critical during this pandemic, but Verizon (Engadget's parent company) is a little late to step up. Spectrum is offering free internet installation and service to students and their families. Comcast is making its Internet Essentials program free for new, qualifying customers for 60 days, and it is boosting broadband speeds for existing Internet Essentials customers. AT&T has removed data usage caps.
Verizon is canceling scheduled appointments for internet installation and repairs, according to some customers and two Verge reporters with persistent internet issues. The decision potentially leaves Fios subscribers without wired internet at a time when they’re likely relying on it for work and to see friends and family during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are minimizing our in-home installation work to critical needs to keep our employees and customers safe and to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” Verizon says in.
“To reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep our employees and customers safe, we are making every attempt to perform work without going into homes or small businesses and are limiting in-home installs to medical emergencies and critical installations,” Verizon tells The Verge in a statement. Self-install options are also available for “qualified service orders,” the company added.
Verizon is launching a tool to help you troubleshoot tech issues remotely
You’ll be able to send pictures or video to a technician so they can help you out“This new tool gives us the ability to provide the excellent service our customers deserve while keeping them and our technicians safe in these unprecedented times,” said Kyle Malady, Verizon’s chief technology officer, in a statement.
However, Verizon actually changed the language in the support document sometime on Tuesday morning,. Previously, the site said that “our technicians will not be able to enter your home or business to install new services or to do repair work.”
Here is the previous language, from a version of the page:
As a result of COVID-19, we are taking precautions to keep our employees and customers safe. At this time, our technicians will not be able to enter your home or business to install new services or to do repair work. Qualified orders will be provided self-install options, or you may proceed with placing an order for a technician-required installation and it will be held for future appointment priority. You will receive notification to select an installation date when we resume operations.
Verizon finally allows uploads on its 5G network
A 5G connection is still a bit of a luxury. Only a handful of Android phones support the cellular standard, and Apple still has yet to integrate a 5G modem into an iPhone. Those who do have a capable smartphone, use Verizon and live in one of 34 particular cities might enjoy smoother service, though. The provider enabled ultra wideband 5G uploads today in cities like Los Angeles, Miami and New York City. (Uploads will be coming to San Diego on March 28th.) Those faster uplink speeds mean users will be able to send data faster to cell towers and servers. In other words, the quality of their video calls and the speed of their TikTok uploads should be much improved.
Users on Twitter have reported that their installation appointments have been canceled. Onethat his installation appointment was canceled for internet that he needed for school. In a reply, its “technicians will not be able to enter your home to install new services or do repair work.”
As a result of COVID-19, we are taking precautions to keep our employees and customers safe. At this time, our technicians will not be able to enter your home to install new services or do repair work.— Verizon Support (@VerizonSupport)
Earlier today, Verizon told a customer who said their installation appointment was canceled that “qualified orders will be provided self-install options” and that he would get “future appointment priority” if he opted for installation by a technician.
Qualified orders will be provided self-install options, or you may proceed with placing an order for a technician-required installation and it will be held for future appointment priority. You will receive notification to select an installation date when we resume operations
Verizon gives customers extra mobile data, drops broadband data caps
More cellular carriers are taking steps to ensure people can stay online during the COVID-19 pandemic. Verizon (Engadget's parent company) is giving consumer and small business customers an extra 15GB of LTE data speeds per month on their plans, with no action required. This applies regardless of the device you're using, and whether your service is a regular subscription or prepaid. It's not the completely unlimited access you might hope for, but it could help you stay online if you depend on your phone's data for work. Fios and DSL users won't have data caps, Verizon added.
^CKM— Verizon Support (@VerizonSupport)
have reported that Verizon is telling them that a technician might fix their internet in November, but Verizon said in reply to one of those users that the November date is “incorrect” and is “simply a placeholder for customers in your area.”
Jass, that information is incorrect. That date is simply a placeholder for customers in your area. We will contact you once we receive clearance to provide an earlier date. Thank you.
^HEN— Verizon Support (@VerizonSupport)
Verizon’s new policies have also affected reporters here at The Verge. Science reporter Loren Grush hasn’t had internet from Verizon since April 1st. A technician came to her apartment that day to investigate, but they said an engineering technician needed to look at the problem and potentially do a repair. The engineering technician’s appointment was scheduled for yesterday, but they never showed up. Verizon told Grush there was a new protocol implemented on April 6th that meant technicians could no longer come into her home.
Verizon launches new Yahoo Mobile sub-brand with unlimited starting at $40 per month
Verizon is putting its Yahoo brand to use.In an unexpected move, on Wednesday the wireless carrier announced a new sub-brand built around the well-known internet property. Called Yahoo Mobile, the service will offer unlimited talk, text and 4G LTE data and have unlimited mobile hotspot for $40 per month. Subscribers will also get Yahoo Mail Pro for an ad-free email experience when using Yahoo Mail and 24/7 support.
“I tried calling today but essentially was told ‘engineering will call you,’” Grush said in a Slack message. “We have to wait for them to call us, and since this new rule is in place, I’m not entirely hopeful.”
In the meantime, Grush and her husband have been forced to rely on their mobile hotspots for internet, which they need for their work right now. She says she almost hit her mobile data cap, while her husband had to pay to add a higher data cap. “I’m worried [that] once we hit the caps, the internet will be unusable,” said Grush.
Makena Kelly, a policy reporter at The Verge, has also been experiencing problems with her Fios internet since April 1st. A technician was scheduled to check on the problem on April 4th, but the internet returned, so Verizon canceled the appointment, she said in a Slack message. The internet went out again later that day, and Kelly hasn’t been able to reschedule an appointment.
To help customers fix issues that don’t need a technician to visit in person, Verizon tells The Verge that it’s piloting “a virtual assistant tech tool that allows our field technicians to interact with customers via real time, interactive video chat.” The company has not responded to questions from The Verge about how big that pilot is or when it might roll out more broadly.
Tell Your ISP if You Need a Coronavirus Hardship Extension, or Your Service Could Be Suspended .
If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. When the pandemic started wreaking havoc on the U.S. in March, several telecom companies were quick to respond to the FCC’s pledge to “Keep America Connected.” But that pledge seems to have come with a major caveat, as some customers are starting to find out: Just because your internet provider lets you skip paying your bill due to a financial hardship doesn’t mean they won’t disconnect your service. Depending on when you first notified your provider of your financial hardship, they may or may not suspend bill payments through June 30.