BBT was recently added to a list of less than 50 companies nationwide recognized by the FCC for going above and beyond to help consumers during the coronavirus outbreak.
While more than 650 service providers took the FCC’s Keep Americans Connected Pledge, BBT was one of a selection group recognized for taking additional steps to promote remote learning at no extra cost to consumers.
BBT increased internet speeds to all customers until May 31, offered two months’ free broadband to new customers, suspended data overage charges; extended school district networks to students without access, provided wi-fi to first responders and utility technicians, and established wi-fi hotspots for educational and community use.
BBT Sales Lead Tucker Gandy said the company established personal connections for students identified by the school districts who didn’t have internet access, including several each in Alpine, Marathon, and Marfa. In addition, BBT established hotspots in Fort Davis, Sheffield, Presidio, Fort Stockton, and other communities.
Said General Manager Rusty Moore, “We treated seriously the pledge the FCC established about keeping Americans connected during all of this, with people losing their jobs, and the mess we’re in. We treated that like a foundation, and asked what else we could do.”
The company looked at small businesses and restaurants in the communities it serviced, and started providing lunches and breakfasts from those businesses to first responders, health care professionals, and law enforcement personnel throughout the 18,000 square miles it serves.
Moore said BBT committed $500-1,000 a day to the effort, and plans to continue through April. “We’re focused on small businesses in our serving area,” he said. “It’s not going to save the world, but it’s something that we can do. We target these small businesses everywhere we can.”
Moore pointed out that BBT was also a small business.
“With the outflow of capital we’re putting into this, we’re start to see the crunch too, but we’re going to do this as long as we possibly can,” he said.
BBT extended its assistance beyond its own customers, and asked what it could do to help communities.
Said Moore, “That’s what was recognized by the FCC. They recognized not only what we’re doing for our customer base, but what we’re doing from a community focus as a whole.”