Regulatory or legislative moves by federal, state, or local governments that presume to know the direction of invention and innovation often lead to any number of unintended consequences. This is regulatory hubris typically resulting in great disruptions to innovation as the cost, whether in time, risk, or money, of investment in innovation rises. But where regulatory humility is pursued, such as with the current FCC, industry can step up in a big way when it is urgent as during the pandemic and keep America connected.

As the U.S. COVID-19 outbreak began FCC Chairman Pai asked broadband and telephone providers to take the Keep Americans Connected Pledge. Nearly 800 broadband and telephone providers moved to help hundreds of thousands of Americans during a time of need in a public private partnership grounded in leadership not threats or commands. The companies pledged to continue servicing any residential or small business customers regardless of their ability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Industry also waived late fees for any residential or small business customers caused by their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic and opened Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needed them.

The Chairman encouraged all providers to expand and improve the low-income broadband programs they already had or to adopt programs if they did not have them. Finally, he asked them to relax data cap policies, waive long-distance and overage fees, work with schools and libraries on remote learning opportunities and prioritize the connectivity needs of hospitals and healthcare providers.


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Innovation Economy Alliance