As the COVID-19 pandemic shifts school work, healthcare and more to be conducted within our homes, it is especially important for Arizonans to have reliable internet access. To support telehealth, teleworking and distance learning, this page provides insight to broadband support.
Staying Connected During COVID-19Internet access during the COVID-19 crisis is more important than ever before. Fast, reliable, and affordable internet access keeps us connected to healthcare services, school coursework and each other. Arizona’s community leaders are coming together during this time to keep families, students and workers connected by launching a Mobile Hotspot Donation Drive, organizing a laptop drive and more.
The Arizona Commerce Authority partnered with the Arizona Department of Education to identify every opportunity to get students online during this emergency. We are encouraging the private sector to partner with us and donate mobile internet hotspot devices to provide wireless internet in students’ homes so they may connect to online educational tools.
The Community Laptop Drive for Education, launched by the Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation in partnership with private and public sectors organizations, encourages community members and businesses to donate laptops that are no longer needed to Arizona students who do not have the devices at home. This laptop drive will further empower students to participate in virtual learning.
There are many special offers and options to help you find low-cost (or no-cost) internet solutions at the time you need them most.
Find your local service provider
To find out what service providers are in your area, and to compare your options, go to BroadbandNow.com and enter your zip code. Many providers are responding to the coronavirus with changes to their plans, including removing data usage caps and offering affordability programs.
Low cost plans
To find out what low-cost plans are available in your area, and to see if your family might be eligible, go to EveryoneOn.org. There, you can find options applicable to your area and family.
Arizona State Library
Cisco partnered with the State of Arizona to expand WiFi internet access to high-need communities across the state. Cisco will install new external wireless access points at local libraries, allowing students conducting distance learning and others to access WiFi from outside the building. The libraries benefitting from the Cisco donation include:
- Huachuca City Public Library in Cochise County
- Coolidge Public Library in Pinal County
- Duncan Public Library in Greenlee County
- Tolleson Public Library in Maricopa County
- Mission Public Library in Pima County
Arizona Utility Cooperative Agreement
Under Governor Ducey’s leadership, Arizona’s largest electric utilities have a cooperative agreement to provide reliable electricity to homes, hospitals and businesses, and to help struggling Arizonans access reliable electricity.
Arizona Public Service (APS), Salt River Project (SRP), Tucson Electric Power (TEP) and six other utilities will:
- Keep customers’ power on during the remainder of this crisis no matter their ability to pay
- Not impose penalties, late fees or interest
- Provide flexible options for payment, as well as guidance and choice of rate and payment plans
- Allow customers to switch to a different plan if they no longer feel that their current plan is the best option for them
- Provide individualized service to hospitals and health care providers
- Work with other utilities to provide resources and coverage for each other to ensure reliable service state-wide.
Phoenix Water Services Department has suspended water shutoffs. Services will be temporarily restored to households disconnected due to unpaid bills to ensure residents can adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations for frequent hand-washing. Tempe, Goodyear and Surprise are suspending disconnections for water customers who are unable to pay.
State Utility Assistance
Through the Arizona Department of Economic Security, Community Action Programs and other designated local providers offer several programs for energy assistance. The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program is an option for Arizonans to receive help to pay their heating and cooling bills, minimize crises and make energy costs more affordable.
Arizona Public Service
APS has suspended shutting off power for non-payment and waived late fees, set up a Customer Support Fund for those who need payment assistance and has commited to not shutting off service in the hot summer months between June 1, 2020 and October 15, 2020.
Salt River Project
SRP will not shut off customers’ power for non-payment and will waive late fees, donate $1.25 million to assist residential and small business customers and inspect systems to ensure power delivery through the summer.
Tucson Electric Power
TEP will offer payment extensions, donate $1 million to bill payment assistance programs and review systems and supplies to ensure continued service.
Southwest gas issued a moratorium on natural gas disconnections for non-payment, donated to the AZ Coronavirus Relief Fund to support Arizonans and is following guidance from the CDC for safe practices and ensured continued service.
Many broadband and telephone service providers in Arizona have signed the Keep Americans Connected Pledge, which ensures that throughout the pandemic, Americans will not lose their broadband or telephone connectivity as a result of an inability to pay. In addition, providers will waive late fees for residential and small business customers and open Wi-Fi hotspots.
Arizona providers that have signed include Suddenlink (Altice), Centurylink, Charter (Spectrum), Comcast, Cox, Frontier Communications, Mediacom, TWN, Orbitel Communications, Sparklight (CableONE), Viasat, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon.
Cox Communications is opening about 2,500 free public Wi-Fi hot spots, increasing internet speeds for free to help with load capacity and is offering enrollment in its low-income broadband internet program.
Altice (Suddenlink) is offering K-12 and college students who do not currently have home internet access the Altice Advantage 30 Mbps free for 60 days for households within the Altice service footprint. For more information, call 888-633-0030.
CableONE (Sparklight) is offering 15 Mbps internet for $10 per month for the next 60 days for low-income families. Unlimited data is available for all internet services for 30 days to all customers. Free Wi-Fi hotspots are available in the Sparklight office parking lots during the COVID-19 crisis. For more information, call 877-692-2253.
Comcast is offering free Wi-Fi for 60 days to lower-income families. All Xfinity hotspots are free to the public. Comcast serves Oro Valley, Marana, Pima County and parts of Tucson.
Charter is offering free access to broadband and Wi-Fi for 60 days and for new K-12 and college student households.
Orbitel Communications is offering a $15 a month, 10 Mbps product that includes a modem and router and free install for families with K-12 students eligible for the free and reduced meal program. Service area includes Maricopa and Sun Lakes.
AT&T is providing all AT&T consumer home internet wireline customers, as well as Fixed Wireless Internet, unlimited internet data. Business customers currently on or who purchase an AT&T World Connect Advantage package receive 50% off the current rate in a monthly bill credit. Businesses, universities and schools can keep their teams and classrooms connected through conference calls and video conferencing with Cisco Webex Meetings with AT&T for 90-days. AT&T has also created a new Distance Learning and Family Connections Fund to support new demands for at-home learning.
T-Mobile is expanding network capacity for customers across the country. It is also expanding roaming access for Sprint customers to use the T-Mobile Network. All current T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers who have plans with data will have unlimited smartphone data for 60 days.
Verizon is providing free access to its public WiFi hotspots and unlimited data for its consumer home internet wireline customers and fixed wireless internet customers. Verizon will waive overage charges and late fees to support customers who may be financially affected by the COVID-19 crisis, in addition to automatically adding 15GB of high-speed data for wireless consumers and small business customers.
Sprint will offer unlimited data per month for customers with metered data plans. It will also provide customers with an additional 20GB of mobile hotspot data at no extra cost.
Arizona Department of Transportation
The Arizona Department of Transportation is continuing its essential services to support Arizonans during the pandemic. Pavement repairs, highway construction and improvement projects will continue. Crew will also continue to patrol Phoenix-area freeways to quickly clear crashes and help stranded motorists. ADOT’s Traffic Operations Center’s dispatchers are on duty 24/7 to monitor the freeways and highways across the state for incidents, deploy personnel as needed to keep traffic moving and share critical information on overhead message boards. For more information on how ADOT’s efforts to help long-haul truckers, MVD customers and more, view the ADOT COVID-19 Response.
Motor Vehicle Division
ADOT’s Motor Vehicle Division is assisting customers and protecting employees by limiting office visits to those needing transactions that must be done in person. Most motor vehicle transactions can be performed anytime by visiting ServiceArizona.com.
Commercial Vehicle Regulations
Under Governor Ducey’s leadership, ADOT is waiving certain commercial vehicle regulations to help to ensure critical goods and supplies can be transported more easily. Under new guidelines issued by ADOT, commercial trucks with gross weights of up to 90,000 pounds will be allowed to operate without overweight permits, an increase from the current limit of 80,000 pounds. The new guidelines align with federal guidance and will help ensure Arizona’s groceries, pharmacies and medical providers remain fully supplied.