Starry offers COVID-19 subscriber debt forgiveness program

Aug. 4, 2020
In March, Starry pledged to keep subscribers connected regardless of their ability to pay during the COVID-19 health crisis. This week, the company announced a plan to forgive the debt of those subscribers who were unable to pay during the pledge period.

Starry, Inc., a wideband hybrid fiber wireless internet service provider based in Boston, on Aug. 3 announced its “Fresh Start” debt forgiveness program for subscribers who were unable to pay their broadband subscription fee due to the impacts of the COVID-19 health crisis.

Per a press release, "The Fresh Start program will wipe away any debt owed to Starry through July 31, 2020 and enable subscribers to start with a zero dollar balance beginning August 1. The Fresh Start program applies to subscribers who opted into Starry’s COVID-19 relief program during the Federal Communications Commission's 'Keep Americans Connected' pledge period and includes subscribers who requested partial and full relief during the pledge period." 

From early March 2020, Starry notes it was among the first internet service providers to take the FCC’s “Keep Americans Connected” pledge to suspend termination of internet service to subscribers as a result of non-payment related to COVID-19 and to suspend certain punitive customer practices, such as data caps and additional fees. ("Starry’s internet service has never had additional fees, late fees or data caps as a standard business practice," notes the company.) The FCC pledge began on March 13 and expired on June 30. Starry voluntarily extended its pledge commitment until July 31.

“Reliable, affordable broadband access has never been more important than during the COVID-19 health crisis,” said Virginia Lam Abrams, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Strategic Advancement at Starry.

Abrams added, “Starry is proud to do our part to support our communities during this challenging time and while our pledge period has ended, our commitment to always being customer-first continues. We know that the economic impacts of COVID-19 will continue for many months to come. By zeroing out the balances owed to us by subscribers who have been adversely affected by this health crisis, it’s our hope that this small gesture helps people get back on their feet with one less thing to worry about. It’s our way of saying, ‘we’ve still got your back.’”

Starry notes it has taken additional actions in response to the COVID-19 health crisis, including:

  • Expanding its Starry Connect program to an additional 9,400 units of public and affordable housing across the country. Starry Connect is a specialized ultra-low-cost broadband access program that partnersdirectly with public and affordable housing owners to provide high-quality, true broadband access with no data caps, long-term contracts or complex individual eligibility requirements for only $15 per month.
  • Providing its Starry Connect service free to all current and new Starry Connect customers until the end of July to help ensure our most vulnerable communities remain connected. Related Companies, the company’s largest affordable housing partner, joined in extending its commitment to covering the cost of Starry Connect for its residents who currently subscribe to the program.
  • Expanding free access to its best-in-class customer care technical support to all consumers, not just Starry subscribers, nationwide.

Starry Internet is available in New York City, Boston, Los Angeles, Washington, DC and Denver with an expansion roadmap that includes more than 30 million U.S. households. Starry currently offers consumers a simple, no bundles, no long term contract, no data caps, no hidden fees plan of $50 per month for 200 mbps download/upload speeds, inclusive of installation, 24/7 customer care and all equipment.

Starry Connect provides 30 mbps symmetrical speeds for $15 per month, inclusive of all in-home WiFi equipment and installation, and 24/7 personalized customer care to all its subscribers within its partner communities.

Starry Connect counts the Denver Housing Authority, the Boston Housing Authority, HCCI, Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA), Innovative Housing Concepts (Englewood, CO Housing Authority), Related Affordable and Beacon Communities as its largest public and affordable housing partners.

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