Coronavirus News: Customers staying at home changes landscape for broadband companies

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- With many customers confined to their homes and apartments during the coronavirus pandemic, much of their time is being spent on wireless, cable and broadband platforms for everything from work, entertainment and education.

And that has put a strain on the system.

"It's much more constant," said John Quigley, vice president of Spectrum NYC region. "You see much more traffic during the day. We want to make sure there is no disruption during the day."

While many companies report they have long been expanding their networks, the COVID-19 outbreak has brought new and sometimes unexpected challenges.

"Everyday is like New Year's Eve when it comes to the number of texts being sent," Verizon Executive Vice President and CEO Ronan Dunne said. "Gaming is up over 100%. The use of VPN and video conferencing has just skyrocketed."

Verizon officials say they are also redefining how some work is accomplished.

"We have now retrained 10,000 retail employees so they are able to support our call center works, so they can take calls for customer service," Dunne said.

To protect their installation and service workers, companies have created ways for customers to set up service.

They are also partnering with small and medium business customers.

"Whether their business had to close for a certain period of time or slow down, or if you are a restaurant and can only do delivery, how can we support you in doing that in a new way?" Altice USA Executive Vice President Lee Schroeder said.

They are also determined to quickly adapt to customer demands.

"We've pivoted very, very quickly here in the demands of our customers and continue to evolve in the best way that they want to interact with us," Quigley said.

With FaceTime, Skype and Zoom, families are now able to stay connected with video, not just one on one but with multiple family members.

For students, remote learning is also bringing new services.

"To be able to perform basic learning education at home is an incredible challenge, and yet an incredible opportunity to partner in new ways with our customers," Schroeder said.

Staying at home has also shed light on economic issues when it comes to technology, one that these companies can help bridge

"Making sure there are more educational tools available on the platform so that parents can support their kids from working at home," Dunne said

It is a changing broadband, cable and wireless landscape like never before.

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