By Beeber, Al on April 9, 2020.
Two major internet and cell service providers are providing relief to customers quarantined at home during the COVID-19 crisis.
Both Telus and Shaw are accommodating Canadians who are stuck at home in the country’s effort to flatten the curve and lower transmission rates of the coronavirus.
In a recent email, Telus’ Liz Sauvé said the company is accommodating personal and business customers during the crisis.
“To support our customers across Canada, Telus is offering flexible payment options for consumer and small-business customers who have been financially affected by the crisis.
“Additionally, we’ve recently doubled the data on High Speed Internet with Smart Hub residential plans, offering up to one TB (terabyte) of usage, which is triple the amount an average household uses. Our dedicated team is also helping customers select the right plan based on their usage so they can stay informed and virtually connected with their loved ones during these extraordinary times,” Sauvé wrote.
The company is also waiving home internet overage charges in recognition that most customers are now at home.
“While the vast majority of our home internet customers already have unlimited internet data, we are waiving all home internet overages through the end of April for those who are not on unlimited plans and may incur overages,” Sauvé wrote.
Shaw’s communications department failed to respond to a Herald request for information but a media release on its website also addressed the crisis.
The March 13 release states that Shaw is “ensuring our customers continue to have the data they need to live their lives by not having hard data caps on our internet plans and not limiting our customers’ internet data use.”
The company is also offering free access across Western Canada to Shaw Go Wi-Fi hotpots.
“This access will be especially important in helping emergency services and first responders stay connected as they remain steadfast in supporting our communities,” said the release.
“Open access to our Shaw Go Wi-Fi network will give all Western Canadians the free easy-to-access connectivity they need to stay connected and up to date on all COVID-19 news and information as it happens,” said incoming president of Shaw Communications Paul McAleese in the release.
Shaw is also giving cable and Shaw Direct customers free access to various information and entertainment channels.
Netflix, meanwhile, has lowered video quality for Canadian subscribers in an effort to reduce demands on internet bandwidth.
According to a Canadian Press story, the changes “are designed to slash its data traffic by 25 per cent as internet service providers deal with a surge in user activity.”
The lower bandwidth streams of Netflix programs should still deliver the usual quality of each plan, the company said, whether it’s ultra-high definition 4K, high-definition or standard definition.”
The lower quality is being implemented for 30 days. Similar bandwith changes have been implemented recently in other parts of the world.