Bell, Rogers, other telecoms remove internet data caps amid COVID-19
TORONTO -- As Canadians grapple with a growing list of cancellations, closures and travel restrictions, several Canadian telecom companies are temporarily removing overage fees on home internet plans amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
Last week, Bell Canada, which owns CTV News, announced it would waive any additional usage fees for residential internet customers, including Bell Aliant, Bell MTS and Virgin Home Internet services, until the end of April.
“Any overage fees will be waived automatically, so customers don’t need to make any changes to their accounts,” the company said in a statement.
For customers with Turbo Hubs, Turbo Sticks and MiFi devices, Bell will provide an extra 10 gigabytes of monthly usage and a $10 credit on their existing plan for current and future billing cycles starting March 19. However, the company notes any data charges acquired before March 19 will still apply.
The move comes after Bell, Rogers, and other telecom companies were criticized for not providing the same allowances to rural customers.
“We are aware that many of our Turbo Hub, Turbo Stick and MiFi customers would like us to provide them with unlimited data. We would love to do that as well and we are sorry that we cannot,” the company said, noting that demands on wireless networks have been significantly heightened.
“We need to ensure that everyone – including consumers, businesses and most importantly public safety authorities working on the current situation – continue to have fast and reliable access to our service. Providing unlimited usage to all Turbo Hub, Turbo Stick and MiFi customers would put wireless network performance at risk during a critical time for Canadians.”
Although Rogers says the majority of its home and business customers already have unlimited data, the company said in a statement it has also "removed data usage caps for customers on limited home internet plans" until May 31.
Rogers customers using Rocket Hub services have reported that they are ineligible for this service offering.
CTVNews.ca has contacted Rogers to clarify whether rural internet subscribers will receive support.
Quebec-based Videotron is also suspending data limits on all of its service offerings. The company says the change has been automatically applied to customer accounts until March 31.
Telus home internet customers will also see charges waived through the end of April. The company notes that it also plans to provide flexible payment options for customers facing financial challenges due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The announcements come as many businesses across Canada implement telecommuting measure, allowing or requiring employees to work from home to help stop the spread of the virus.
With files from The Canadian Press