US cable fits Coronavirus

While many businesses have sent their employees to work from home because of state and federal orders to contain the spread of COVID-19, many cable call center workers and techs in the US are allowed to go into the office because they are classified as providing an ‘essential’ service. While typically that means police, fire and medical workers, it applies to some cable employees because without broadband, ‘the increasingly creaky economy would grind to a halt’, as reported by the specialized website Multichannel. 

Practically every cable operator in the country is offering some form of free broadband service for up to 60 days. 

Comcast Cable has about 88 thousand employees serving 31.5 million video, voice and data customers across the country, according to its most recent annual report, as informed by Multichannel. The company said it is converting thousands of employees each day to work from home whenever possible. Comcast noted that COVID-19 is expected to have a broad impact on the company – especially on its NBCUniversal unit since the 2020  Olympics have been postponed for a year.

On the other hand, Charter Communications said it has seen service installation truck rolls increase significantly from their average of about 12 thousand per day after announcing its 60-day free access broadband offer. The company has also said it is currently fielding more than 50 thousand requests for internet service per day, and the number of truck rolls for service repairs have risen to about 30 thousand per day. Charter also reported to be working around the clock to deliver uninterrupted internet, telephone and TV news services to its 29 million customers, as reported by Multichannel.

Cox Communications, which has about 20 thousand employees servicing 6 million customers, said that about 20 days ago fewer than 15% of its call center employees were working remotely. By the end of the previous week (March 27th), the company estimated that more than 92% of call center workers would be performing their jobs from home.

Because of the Coronavirus spread, Atlantic Broadband closed its front counters and  informed its customers of easy online payment options to eliminate the need for them to travel to office locations. In addition, the company has also has deployed remote support tools that allow customer care agents and technicians to assist customers in real time via a live, interactive video streaming without the need for an in-home appointment. 

The company also has deployed self-install options to reduce the need for in-home tech support. In the event an in-home visit is necessary, agents are calling ahead before appointments to assess the wellness situation in the household, and are re-confirming at the door if inside work is required.

‘With the goal of protecting our team members and our customers, and reducing the spread of the COVID-19 virus in our communities, we have implemented a range of measures that will significantly reduce the need to enter customers’ homes, while continuing to provide the vital connections our customers need at this time’, said Atlantic Broadband President, Frank van der Post.