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Across the country, locally-owned broadband providers have agreed to help ensure Americans have access to internet service during the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, and North Dakota is no different.

All 15 of North Dakota’s locally-owned independent broadband providers* along with Dakota Carrier Network (DCN) and the Broadband Association of North Dakota have committed to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai’s Keep Americans Connected Pledge. Those committing to the Pledge agree to:

1.       Not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic;

2.       Waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic; and

3.       Open its Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them.

In addition to signing the pledge, North Dakota's broadband providers took their commitment to serve during the pandemic even farther.

When schools shifted to learning at home, the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, DCN and the broadband providers identified 72,000 students outside of Bismarck-Mandan, Fargo-West Fargo, and Grand Forks.  As of April 24, they have ensured that 99.7 percent of those students are connect to high- speed internet.  While some of the families have declined services, work is still being done to connect the remaining .3% of students.

DCN and the state's independent broadband providers have been recognized by Governor Burgum and State Superintendent Kirstin Baesler for their work to help students continue learning in the midst of the pandemic and every provider is committed to keeping North Dakota's citizens and businesses connected.

*ND Independent Broadband Providers:

BEK Communications Cooperative
Consolidated Telcom
Dakota Central Telecommunications Cooperative
Dickey Rural Telephone Cooperative
Midstate Telephone Company
North Dakota Telephone Company
Nemont Telephone Cooperative
Northwest Communications Cooperative
Polar Communications
Red River Technologies
Reservation Telephone Cooperative
SRT Communications Inc.
United Telephone Mutual Aid Corporation
West River Telecommunications Cooperative

News stories:
Ag Week
- "Rural internet's importance highlighted by coronavirus"

Williston Herald "ND broadband providers commit to keeping access open during pandemic"

KFYR-TV "Broadband Association of North Dakota works to get more students connected"