The U.S. Federal Reserve is reportedly talking to lenders and saying that if they go through their liquidity reserves while helping customers there won’t be dire consequences for them, according to a report by Reuters.
After the financial crash in 2008, banks saved up billions in reserves to make sure that they would be able to handle times of market stress and be able to keep lending. The Fed is basically telling banks to dip into those reserves if they have to.
Also, the Federal Communications Commission said that telecom providers like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T agreed that they won’t turn off service due to non-payment for the next 60 days.
The FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai, said that he fielded calls with over 50 companies, and they all agreed to waive late fees to small business and residential customers over coronavirus-related financial consequences.
Companies including Alphabet’s Google Fiber, Charter Communications, CenturyLink, Cox Communications and T-Mobile have also agreed to help.
They’ll also open wifi hotspots to whoever needs them, according to the FCC.
Because of the virus, millions of Americans are working remotely, and need to have internet access to do so.
“As the coronavirus outbreak spreads and causes a series of disruptions to the economic, educational, medical and civic life of our country, it is imperative that Americans stay connected,” Pai said. “Broadband will enable them to communicate with their loved ones and doctors, telework, ensure their children can engage in remote learning.”
FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said the FCC should be doing more, like “provide hotspots for loan for students whose school doors have closed” and “work with health care providers to ensure connectivity for telehealth services are available for hospitals, doctors, and nurses treating coronavirus patients and those who are quarantined.”
Pai said he asked that low-income customers who use lower-speed services should have their service sped up and their eligibility expanded. Comcast said it would raise speeds, and AT&T said it would waive data caps.