Tucows is a global business. Our first consideration during the COVID-19 outbreak is for the health and safety of our employees, our customers and their families, all around the world.
On Sunday March 8, Tucows’ leadership announced that all employees who could conceivably work from home should do so. On Monday, March 9 it looked like an overabundance of caution but on the morning of Thursday, March 12, it seemed prescient.
We recognize how important it is that we all do our part to contain this outbreak. Tucows takes that responsibility very seriously, as individuals and as a collective.
Tucows has long encouraged a culture of remote work. We look at work as something people contribute as opposed to a place people go every day. So, while the majority of our workforce is dispersed, we remain productive.
We’re buoyed by the positive spirit the “herd” has brought to this exercise. We’re humbled by our strong culture and community, built by the many individuals and offices around the world that make up our ranks.
We are fortunate that domain registration and mobile phone service can be effectively delivered from our laptops and servers, and are both absolutely central to how people are connecting and transacting today. While fiber-to-the-home requires a physical component, it is also experiencing an upsurge in demand. The state of our business is thankfully very strong.
Businesses the world over are moving quickly to get online. Displaced workers are looking to entrepreneurship as the next stage in their career paths. We saw this trend begin to emerge in late March and it is still going strong. With tens of thousands of resellers and millions of end user customers, our Domains business has proven its staying power through several economic cycles, but we are seeing something singular in this current, unprecedented environment. It feels like years of change being crammed into weeks or months. This is more interesting for what it says about the economy than it is material to our business, as new registrations make up only 20% of total transactions historically.
Mobile phone service is a necessity. As people stay home as much as possible and as such use much less mobile data given that they’re often around Wi-Fi at home, the Ting Mobile pay for what you use model makes even more sense as mobile data use drops across the board.
Like all Tucows businesses, Ting Mobile operates online and without physical storefronts. It is similarly well-positioned to weather the storm.
Early in March, as the contagion risks began to quickly escalate, we proactively suspended new installations, unlike much of our competition. While taking a step back and looking at the installation process in detail, we created a temporary review protocol for urgent installations and repairs, focused on health care facilities and health care workers.
We worked on innovating a smart installation solution that would return us to an acceptable cadence for the duration of the threat from COVID-19, while minimizing contact risk between customers and our teams. We began piloting that process on April 20, and we now have an installation process that enables us to return to home and business installations at a time of unprecedented need for the Ting fiber service.
At the same time, we amplified our local relief efforts, creating free, public, fiber-fed Wi-Fi hotspots in Ting Internet towns, and upgrading all entry-tier customers to symmetrical gigabit for 60 days starting April 1 at no charge.
Ting Internet doesn’t have bandwidth caps or other such limitations. Likewise, Ting Internet’s fiber networks are built with plenty of capacity to accommodate future need. The additional traffic from customers working from home, not to mention the fact that we upgraded every lower-tier user to gigabit service without charge, hasn’t had and won’t have any negative impact.
Ting Internet signed the Keep Americans Connected pledge and has also issued its own COVID-19 statement with more detail.