Our Response to COVID-19
Like everyone, Comporium has been paying close attention to the onset and spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) over the past few weeks. We take the responsibility of ensuring the health and safety of our employees, customers and our community very seriously. We also understand that as more people change their habits by working from home and choosing to spend free time at home rather than in crowded public spaces, our customers will depend more than ever on our services. Therefore, we want to inform our customers that we are taking the following steps to ensure that we are providing and maintaining our services in the safest possible manner.
Open, But With a Few Changes
We are excited to announce the reopening of a selection of our retail stores on July 6th.
• Cherry Rd – 1739 Cherry Rd., Rock Hill, SC 29732
• Stonecrest – 1149 Stonecrest Blvd., Suite 110, Tega Cay, SC 29708
• Lancaster – 1091 Hwy 9 Bypass, Lancaster, SC 29720
• Brevard - 190 East Main St., Brevard, NC 28712
• Gilbert - 1660 Juniper Springs Rd. Gilbert, SC 29054
TRY OUR NEWEST TECHNOLOGY
Even though our retail stores have been closed for a while, that didn’t stop us from launching some exciting new services like Stream TV and Plume Premium WiFi! Come on in to experience the power of TV Set Free with a live Stream TV demo, or to learn about Plume, our latest innovation to provide strong, uninterrupted Internet connectivity throughout your home.
IT WON'T BE BUSINESS AS USUAL
In order to provide our employees and customers with the safest in-store experience possible, we have and will continue to follow the guidelines set forth by the CDC and DHEC in regard to preventing the spread of COVID-19. Some of the precautions we’re taking include the following:
• All Comporium employees will wear masks
• We encourage that all customers also wear a mask while in the store
• To promote social distancing, there will be floor stickers to indicate appropriate spacing
• Plexiglass shields at all kiosks
• Employees are expected to sanitize and wash hands regularly
PUTTING SAFETY FIRST
As excited as we are to reopen, the safety of our employees and customers will continue to be our number one priority during these challenging times. Please adhere to the safety and distancing guidelines listed above, and if you’re not feeling well, please pick another time to come see us in person.
If you prefer to work with one of our friendly customer service reps, our Customer Contact Center is available by chat or by phone. Customers who don’t feel well or believe that they’ve been exposed to COVID-19 are encouraged to use these options.
• SC – York, Lancaster and Chester Counties: 888.403.2667
• SC – Midlands and neighboring region: 800.258.7978
• NC – Transylvania, Mecklenburg and Union Counties: 888.403.2667
Committed to Keeping You Connected
Comporium is also committed to working with customers impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19) to prevent their internet service from being disconnected during this challenging situation. For 125 years, we have always made a point to work with our customers in difficult situations to try to keep them connected. We will continue to do that throughout the coronavirus outbreak. We know that during difficult times like this, a connection to work, school and current events in the world is more important than ever. If you have any questions or concerns about your bill, please contact us via phone or chat to talk to a customer service rep.
We also want you to know that our network is designed and ready for events like this. Comporium has recently made upgrades to both our core network and our field equipment. Even during this trying time, our broadband network is more than capable of handling the additional strain of many people working and learning from home. Comporium’s technicians are also monitoring the network continuously to ensure that they detect and address any problems as soon as possible.
Solutions to Keep Your Business Running
The way you're doing business may have changed overnight but you still have a responsibility to your employees and customers. We offer a number of solutions that can help you stay connected and protected no matter the situation.
• Have peace of mind while your staff is out of the office. Our security solutions, including access control systems, will keep your facility secure around the clock.
• Keep connected with your team and your customers with Comporium UC, a Unified Communication service for real-time voice, video, instant messaging, conferencing and collaboration.
• Cloud voice solutions help businesses of all sizes work efficiently and productively no matter where your employees are.
• Have you had to change your hours of operation? Comporium Business Intelligence helps you keep your customers informed about changes in online listings, hours of operation and keeps you abreast of public reviews on social sites and websites across the internet that are left about your business, all from one single platform.
Visits to Customer Locations
If you are expecting one of our technicians to visit your home or business on an installation or repair call, please know that we’re taking extra precautions to protect you and our employees. Our service vans and trucks are all supplied with hand sanitizer, disinfectants and latex gloves, and our technicians will use them between service calls. We’re also asking our technicians to limit their in-person contact with customers by practicing “social distancing” and being mindful of only entering customer premise when absolutely necessary.
To keep these interactions to a minimum, we've implemented a new Assisted Self-Install process for all of our Internet installations going forward. This process is designed to reduce the amount of time our Technicians are in your home unless needed. We understand that this may not be possible in all cases, but with concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, we believe this new approach is the best way to continue to serve our customers quickly and safely.
If you sign up for new Internet Service with us, here’s what to expect. Please note that the order of these steps may vary based on your individual circumstances.
• Our Technician will arrive at your door and provide you with a self-install kit, complete with cables and instructions.
• From your doorstep, the Technician will walk you through setting up your modem and user account information.
• Our Technician will finish the setup of your new modem and any additional work that needs to be done outside your home before returning to your door to give you your new modem.
• After the modem is ready to go, the Technician will have you connect it and you should be ready to go.
If you have any issues getting your new Internet service working, contact us at 1-888-403-2667 and we will troubleshoot it with you. If needed, we will send a Technician (most likely the one who helped you initially) back to your home to make sure the service is working as expected. Our goal is to continue to provide a quality product with a professional service call, but to do it in the safest manner.
For our customers who don’t feel well or believe that they’ve been exposed to COVID-19, Comporium can provide assistance through our online channel at shop.comporium.com, via chat through our website (www.comporium.com), or by calling our Customer Contact Center at 1-888-403-2667.
Our Corporate Work Environment
To further safeguard the health of our employees, we have instituted additional measures focused on travel and the spread of disease.
Comporium has put in place a strict travel policy for all of our employees and limited all non-essential travel for business. Per CDC recommendations, Comporium has asked its employees who have traveled to high-risk locations or have been exposed to others who have traveled to such locations to self-quarantine for 14 days.
We’ve also canceled or postponed all large meetings and employee gatherings. As our office staffs are able, they’ve been requested to conduct as many meetings virtually as possible.
Comporium is also limiting visits to our corporate offices. Many of our employees are working remotely; those who are physically reporting to work are required to wear a face covering. We’re increasing the frequency of cleanings to our locations to help ensure that they are less of a risk for employees and customers that visit them.
Additionally, Comporium is asking our employees to take extra steps to monitor themselves for signs of illness daily. We’re also asking that they err on the side of caution if they believe they been exposed to COVID-19 and to stay home for 14 days. The goal of these extra measures is to make sure that our technicians and customer service team can continue to serve our community safely, quickly and help keep you connected to the people and information you need most.
We will continue to closely monitor this situation as it develops. Our focus is and will remain on doing all we can to best protect our team, our customers and the communities we serve.
Partnering With Local Relief Efforts
Realizing the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our community residents and businesses, Comporium is partnering with several local relief efforts. In Rock Hill, Comporium is partnering with the City to help make the Rock Hill Unite relief fund a reality. The Unite loan program provides small businesses with quick, easy to access capital to rehire employees, restock supplies and resume normal operations. Comporium is also working with the Salvation Army, Pathways and the American Red Cross to assist residents with critical needs.
In Lancaster and Chester Counties, Catawba Connect is providing funds to access to healthcare, strengthening and supporting families and ensuring the health of the economy. Comporium is helping to make their efforts possible.
Comporium is the Founding Corporate Sponsor for Transylvania Tomorrow, a small business emergency relief fund for Transylvania County. The fund is designed to help small businesses who have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Avoid Service Disruptions—Call 811 Before You Dig
Comporium is reminding customers and construction crews to be more conscientious about checking for buried communications equipment before digging. With the community having a greater reliance on their utilities, it’s more important than ever to Call Before You Dig.
Throughout the Carolinas, you can request a check for buried utility services – also referred to as a locate ticket – by calling 811. The service is free to the public and could prevent you from accidentally damaging underground utilities and causing an outage. If you’d like to learn more or request a locate ticket online, visit https://sc811.com/ for service in South Carolina and https://www.nc811.org/ for service in North Carolina.
Sanitizing Your Electronic Devices
Your favorite electronic devices keep you entertained and connected with the people you love. Unfortunately, they also carry germs. That's always a concern, but even more during a public health crisis. Here are a few simple steps you can take to keep you and your family safe without damaging your devices:
• Clean your device frequently. Choose a disinfectant that's non-abrasive and use a soft cloth. Alcohol-based cleaners (70% isopropyl) work, too. For the best results, unplug your device, power it down and wipe all surfaces. Don't forget to remove the case and clean it as well.
• Use hands-free options whenever possible. Instead of holding your phone up to your ear, use the speaker option or a Bluetooth device for your call. This keeps any germs away from your face and reduces your risk.
• Don't share devices. We all joke about texting someone from across the room, but that's the safest way for you to share photos, videos and other content at this time.
• Don't lay your device on a surface others may have come in contact with. If you absolutely must, clean the area before putting down your device and clean the device after you pick it up.
Beware of COVID-19 Scams
Tough times bring out the best in people. Unfortunately, they also bring an increase in scams. COVID-19 is no exception. These tips are worth following at any time, but are especially important now:
• Carefully inspect any email you receive. Don't know the sender? Don't open the email. Getting a notice from what appears to be a government agency? If you don't remember signing up for their mailing list, it could be a scam.
• Check to see who's calling or texting you. If you don't recognize the number, it's okay to ignore it. If you get on a call and feel like it's a scam, it's okay to hang up.
• Don't share personal information. If someone asks you for bank account information, passwords or any other information, do not share it. Legitimate businesses won't call you and ask for this information.
• Check your bank and credit card accounts frequently. If a scammer does take advantage of you, you'll know and will hopefully be able to minimize the damage.
Paycheck Protection Program
As a part of the CARES Act, the Paycheck Protection Program prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $659 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses.
Many small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, veterans organizations and tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, may be eligible if they also meet program size standards.
You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program.
Lenders may begin processing loan applications as soon as April 3, 2020.
We encourage you to follow guidelines set by industry professionals to learn if your business qualifies for assistance:
• South Carolina Department of Commerce COVID-19 Business Resource Center
• South Carolina Chamber of Commerce COVID-19 Information and Resources
• South Carolina Small Business Development Center COVID-19 Resources
• North Carolina Department of Commerce COVID-19 Business Resources
• North Carolina Chamber of Commerce Coronavirus Resource Guide
• North Carolina’s Small Business and Technology Development Center COVID-19 Resources
• Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Assistance
60 Days of Free Internet Service to Students
Knowing that our students and their parents would need greater access to broadband, Comporium offered 60 days of free service to new customers in homes where a student lives. Sixty days of free Standard HSI service and free installation were offered to any home that was:
• The primary home of a student in kindergarten through high school, in technical school, in college or in graduate school;
• Currently without our internet service and that hadn't had internet service with Comporium for the past 90 days; and
• Located where Comporium would normally provide internet service.
We also waived installation fees and our normal security deposit process during this time. This opportunity was active and available to new customers until Monday, April 6, 2020.
We encourage you to follow these local, state and federal resources for the latest updates on COVID-19 and to discover ways to support our local communities:
Resident & Visitor Resources by Visit York County
Small Business Updates from the Lexington Chamber & Visitors Center
Business & Restaurant Updates from the Brevard/Transylvania Chamber of Commerce