EDINBURG, VA (WOAY) – Shenandoah Telecommunications Company (Shentel), a leading provider of telecommunications and broadband services in Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Kentucky and Ohio, today made several key announcements regarding its proactive plans to limit the exposure of COVID-19 for all of Shentel’s key stakeholders and to temporarily increase broadband internet data speeds and data allowances.
First and foremost, we remain focused on the health and welfare of our employees, customers, and partners. While it is impossible to predict the precise impact this pandemic will have in the communities we serve, we are committed to taking the appropriate steps to ensure our network and services continue to operate seamlessly for our customers.
Temporary Speed Increase
Shentel announced that it is temporarily increasing the speed of every eligible small business and residential broadband data customer to a minimum speed tier of 50Mbps with a 750 GB (gigabyte) data allowance at no additional charge regardless of their current plan. In addition, Shentel will waive all installation fees for new broadband data subscribers and increase data allowances by 250 GB for all customers whose current rate plan includes a monthly data allowance. These changes will take effect immediately and remain in effect through April 30, 2020 in response to the anticipated increase in data usage as a result of newly enacted work and study from home policies.
“We believe the decision to increase data speeds and allowances is a critical step to help our customers throughout our service area at this time of great uncertainty,” said President and CEO, Christopher E. French. “Shentel has served many of these markets for more than 100 years and cares deeply for the health and wellbeing of our customers. By temporarily increasing the speeds and data allowances at no additional charge for our customers, we hope we are making the situation surrounding COVID-19 a little easier to deal with when they may be forced to work from home, do school work or attend classes virtually,” continued French.
New COVID-19 Operations Guidelines
In addition to these changes to assist our customers during this unprecedented time, Shentel is consulting information and recommendations provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and communicating with our state and local officials in each of our service areas to stay informed on the situation in each market.
As a result, Shentel has established new guidelines surrounding our operations which are intended to help protect our employees, customers and communities, and better allow us to continue providing our essential services. These guidelines have been in effect since Friday, March 13th and will remain in effect until Thursday, April 30th.
- Shentel has increased the frequency and intensity of the cleaning efforts that take place in our offices and other company facilities including our retail stores.
- Shentel has limited all non-essential travel, in-person meetings and large employee events or gatherings to reduce the risk of exposure.
- Shentel has implemented a new work from home policy to encourage all employees whose job responsibilities permit remote working to do so.
- Shentel has closed all office facilities to the public permitting only essential personnel, deliveries and shareholder services. Retail locations remain open at this time but all customers are encouraged to conduct business with Shentel online or over the phone at 1-800-SHENTEL.
Key Network/Remote Operations Facts
We deeply value our customers and understand the important role we play in supporting their telecommunication needs. It is our intention to continue providing you with best-in-class service and peace of mind during this uncertain time.
- Shentel’s core networks are designed with geographically redundant equipment and diverse fiber facilities to support maximum uptime. All network devices support secure remote management and monitoring capabilities.
- Shentel maintains geographically diverse customer service, tech support, and operations centers. Our critical Network Operations Center technicians are also enabled with remote work capabilities to answer calls, log tickets, and troubleshoot issues should the need arise.
- Shentel maintenance and repair activities requiring on-site support are performed by local engineers and technicians when such work is unavoidable. This process will continue unless events require us to adjust this support model. We will, of course, adhere to any customer-initiated restrictions regarding on-site personnel.