Latest industry news in Texas and around the country.
Staying safe during this COVID-19 pandemic means more than wearing a face mask or social isolating. It also means protecting our data, our information and our children as we spend increasing amounts of time online for work, school and play.

In early March, as the pandemic was unfolding, cybersecurity company Proofpoint warned that  cybercriminals had begun seizing on coronavirus fears  by using online scams to extract internet users’ personal and financial information. Using email, texts or social media, the scammers were claiming to provide coronavirus awareness, sell virus prevention products and/or ask for charitable donations. 

Proofpoint told Computer Weekly that the total volume of phishing emails and other security threats related to COVID-19 is largest coalescing of cyber attack types  around a single theme that has been seen in a long time, and possibly ever.”

In addition, as children are spending more time online taking classes and socializing, they are  vulnerable to predators and exploitation , warns the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). 

Learn about the protections offered by cable broadband providers, as well as steps you can take to safeguard yourself, your children, your network and your information.
As America has shifted to a work-from-home and school-from-home environment for the past several weeks, internet traffic has skyrocketed. This week’s report from our  COVID-19 dashboard  shows that since March 1 national downstream peak growth is up more than 16% and national upstream peak growth has increased more than 34%. Some regions are seeing upstream peak growth approaching a 50% increase. And while peak growth has slowed in recent weeks, the reality is that cable’s broadband networks have seen significant surges in internet traffic growth in just this short period of time. 

So how have cable’s networks been able to handle this surge in internet traffic? The answer involves a combination of hundreds of billions of dollars in investment in infrastructure and technology ($290 billion over the past 20 years), smart and responsive network engineering, and a flexible network foundation that is being constantly upgraded with hardware, software and other technical modifications.
In our April newsletter, we shared the  numerous ways our cable company members  Altice USA (which provides Suddenlink services in Texas), Charter Spectrum, Comcast and Sparklight have been implementing new features and programs to serve Americans at a time when being connected is more important than ever. Here are some updates:

Altice USA, Charter Communications, Comcast and Sparklight Extend Keep Americans Connected Pledge
Altice USA, Charter Communications, Comcast and Sparklight announced in late April that they will extend their commitment to the Federal Communications Commission’s Keep Americans Connected Pledge through June 30. The companies originally signed on to the pledge in mid-March for 60 days. 

Companies that signed the pledge promised not to cut off broadband or telephone service to any customers, even those unable to pay their bills; to waive late fees incurred because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic; and to open their Wi-Fi hotspots to all.

Find specific information about the extension of the pledge by each of the companies:

Altice USA Commits $10 Million To Support Small Business Recovery
Altice USA announced April 23 it has created a $10 million Community Relief Program aimed at supporting the recovery efforts of small and medium-sized business customers (SMBs) across the company’s footprint. The company also established a separate program to support Feeding America and the Boys & Girls Club of America.  Learn more .

Altice USA Extends Free Student Broadband and Wi-Fi Solutions for Rest of School Year
Altice USA announced April 13 that it is extending its free student broadband and Wi-Fi offerings – which began March 13 - until the end of the 2019 - 2020 school year to help students and schools stay connected to online teaching and learning.  Learn more .

Charter Helps Small Businesses Navigate Economic Challenges

With many coffee shops, bars, venues, restaurants and retailers shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these are difficult times for America’s small businesses. Charter announced April 28 it has rolled out new online tools and resources to help them navigate the economic challenges brought on by this difficult time.  Learn more .

Charter Gives More Subs Access to Family Networks
Charter Communications announced April 23 it will provide family-friendly networks Disney Jr., Disney XD, Game Show Network and UpTV to all Spectrum TV customers, with most families staying home all day to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The free availability is scheduled to end the last week of May.  Learn more .

Charter Provides Update on COVID-19 response

Charter Communications on April 23 reported on its commitments to serve and support customers and employees during the COVID-19 crisis.  Learn more .

Charter: Continued Hiring and Support for Employees
Charter Communications on April 19 reported how it is supporting its employees, as well as its subscribers, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Charter pledged  not to layoff or furlough  any employees for at least the next 60 days  Charter recently created jobs by opening several call centers, including  350 new jobs in El Paso , and raised its minimum wage.  Learn more .

Comcast Supports United Way of Greater Houston and City of Houston’s Relief Funds

Comcast Houston announced April 28 it is contributing $100,000 to two organizations that are assisting those significantly impacted by the global health crisis – the United Way of Greater Houston and the Greater Houston Community Foundation. Together the two organizations have established the  Greater Houston COVID-19 Recovery Fund  to serve the region’s most vulnerable neighbors impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Learn more .
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