VALLEY CITY, N.D. - A North Dakota internet service provider is helping rural students and work-from-home residents have access to internet during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

BEK COmmunications recently announced it would double customer internet speeds at no additional charge and help ensure connectivity by not implementing late fees and disconnect policies. It also will provide service free for four months for households within BEK’s footprint that are without Lightband internet service but have telehealth, education and work-from-home needs.

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“In this time of uncertainty, BEK’s customers do not have to be concerned about staying connected with family, school, work or friends,”  CEO Derrick Bulawa said in a statement. “As a cooperative, we are here to serve our customers, meet their needs and support North Dakota’s social distancing efforts.”

For customers that don’t have Lightband internet services, BEK will upgrade the internet speeds to the maximum supported at their location. The upgrades come at no additional charge to subscribers as the country pulls together to defeat this pandemic.

“Our customers do not have to be concerned about late fees or services being terminated due to the current economic hardship,” said Brett Stroh, president of BEK’sboard of directors. “We want to remind everyone that their cooperative will provide broadband and phone service to anyone who needs connectivity, within our footprint and prairie_business services to prairie_businesses in need statewide.”