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Blue Ridge launches Learn From Home initiative

In response to the coronavirus, Blue Ridge Communications has created a Learn From Home initiative that will provide families with children free internet and other services at no charge for 60 days.

The decision to close schools has created an urgent need to get families with children a broadband connection, which the initiative will address, according to Joe Lorah, marketing manager, Blue Ridge Communications.

“Our first concern was the safety of all our customers, employees, and their families,” Lorah said. “Part of that is we got to get people connected, and keep people connected, whether it be with internet, TV, or phone, or all three.”

Lorah said the Learn From Home initiative will provide a 10 meg high speed internet connection, modem and a Wi-Fi connection at no charge for 60 days.

Blue Ridge Communications will offer new customers unlimited data until June 1. At the end of the term, customers can return their equipment to Blue Ridge, or choose to stay connected with a promotional offer.

“Learn From Home will give students who currently do not have Internet access Internet access for free for 60 days,” Lorah said. “We’re also waiving data caps as well until June 1, and that goes for the existing customers as well because we realize with people working from home that they may increase their data usage, and we want to do what we can to help the community, and one way we can is to waive our data caps.”

Lorah said Blue Ridge Communications has adaptable payment options for customers struggling with finances because of the coronavirus.

“We realize some of our customers may have an economic hardship, and if they’re experiencing any kind of hardship, they can give us a call and we have flexible payment options available,” he said. “And we are not going to assess any late fees over the next 60 days.”

Lorah also said Blue Ridge has just launched a new troubleshooting feature called Blue Ridge View to assist customers who are experiencing technical issues.

“Our representative will send the customer a link and once they accept it, it will give us a live video chat into the customer’s home, which will allow us to see what trouble the customer is experiencing,” he said. “So it will give our representatives a view of their equipment and their issue so we can better troubleshoot and solve that issue.”

Blue Ridge has also partnered with 10 different networks to offer free previews of their channels and content to its video subscribers. The length of these free previews depends on the network but most run until April 30 or May. Customers can download their app or go online to manage their account.

Blue Ridge has also made the following changes for its employees:

• Favorable adjustments to its time off policy that provides employees with additional time should they need it.

• Started implementing a Work From Home program for team members and will continue to expand it as necessary, and are all practicing social distancing.

• To prevent the need for its field technicians to gather in the office each morning, the company has started dispatching them directly from home each day to minimize risk and exposure.

In these uncertain times, Blue Ridge is doing everything it can to balance the needs of its customers with the needs of its employees, such as working with a reduced staff.

Additionally, its customer care team and field technicians are resolving issues and installing services remotely when possible, and are encouraging the customers to trouble shoot issues with them remotely.

Blue Ridge is constantly monitoring this ever-changing situation, and is adapting as necessary. The company encourages customers to provide their email address and mobile number so they can send them updates as needed.

“Our company was started by Claude Reinhard to serve the community, and today our mission remains the same,” Lorah said. “Our communities need us now more than ever.”