Major Canadian telecommunications companies are waiving internet data overage charges in an effort to soften the financial blow for people forced into self-quarantine.
The move marks a financial respite for people forced to work from home to stem the transmission of the COVID-19 pathogen. For others, it’s an unlimited licence to FaceTime friends and family separated by social distancing measures, or to binge streaming services like never before.
“We are waiving all home Internet overages through the end of April for those who are not on unlimited plans and have overage charges,” reads a Telus announcement.
The internet and phone company is also waiving all roaming charges on its Easy Roam and Pay Per Use programs for customers stuck in Level 3 advisory countries like China and Italy. The waived fees apply to people who are unable to return to Canada until the end of April.
For others facing financial challenges due to COVID-19, Telus said it is offering flexible payment options.
Other telecommunications companies, including Bell, Virgin Mobile Canada and Rogers Communications, have rolled out similar relief measures until the end of April.
Rogers spokeswoman Sarah Schmidt says all its business internet plans and a majority of its home internet customers already have unlimited data but it will waive overage fees on other residential plans due to the public health situation.
The announcements come as many businesses across Canada are allowing or requiring employees to work from home to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Canada has recorded more than 230 COVID-19 cases and one death in a pandemic that has swept much of the world, shutting down economies as entire populations of countries like Italy, and most recently Spain, go into lockdown.
Here in B.C., health officials announced nine additional cases of the virus Saturday, bringing the provincial total to 73. The announcement marks a turning point in the province’s testing strategy as health officials reserve test kits for health care workers, the elderly and severely ill in an effort to break transmission chains.
— with files from the Canadian Press