Phone, broadband providers pledge to keep customers connected

For the next 60 days, Service Electric of Allentown will open Wi-Fi hotspots to all who need them, and will not terminate services to residential or small business customers who can’t pay their bills due to complications from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company has joined the Federal Communications Commission’s Keep America Connected Pledge, which asks U.S. telephone and broadband service providers to keep users connected during this period.

Hundreds of communications providers have already agreed to the pledge, including RCN, Verizon and Comcast, which provide services locally.

The pledge asks providers for the next 60 days to:

  • Not terminate service to any residential or small business due to the inability to pay their bill.
  • Waive late fees that residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstance related to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Open its Wi-Fi hotspots to everyone.

Additionally, SECTV said it will offer free broadband modems to qualifying customers during this ongoing national emergency.

Many national wireless phone companies have also taken the pledge.

“As the coronavirus outbreak spreads and causes a series of disruptions to the economic, educational, medical, and civic life of our country, it is imperative that Americans stay connected. Broadband will enable them to communicate with their loved ones and doctors, telework, ensure their children can engage in remote learning, and—importantly—take part in the ‘social distancing’ that will be so critical to limiting the spread of this novel coronavirus,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

Chairman Pai also continued the FCC’s ongoing discussions with service providers regarding their efforts to ensure that changes in usage patterns occurring during the pandemic do not impair network performance, as well as their plans to ensure network resiliency.

Lehigh Valley firm helps film ‘Forensic Files’ reboot

Liquid’s crew films an episode of ‘Forensic Files II’ for CNN/HLN. PHOTO/SUBMITTED –


The once popular cable television show, “Forensic Files” is making a comeback, and once again a Lehigh Valley company will play a large role in its production.

CNN/HLN has partnered with Liquid of Upper Macungie Township to shoot eight of the 16 episodes for “Forensic Files II,” which began airing last month. Liquid’s first episodes aired Sunday.

The program began as “Medical Detectives” on the Learning Channel in 1996 and was produced by Medstar Television of Allentown under the direction owner Paul Dowling. The program ended in 2010.

Brian Noreika, who has been with Liquid since 2003, worked as a contractor on the show for Medstar for more than 100 of the program’s original episodes.

“Forensic Files” was a documentary-style program that showed how forensic science is used to solve violent crimes, mysterious accidents and outbreaks of illness.

Noreika said CNN/HLN, which will be filming the other half of the episodes, wanted to bring on people who had worked on the original non-fiction crime and justice program.

“They wanted to give it the same feel as the original,” he said.

Noreika said Liquid contracted with many of the people who worked on the original Forensic files.

Besides connections to the original program, Noreika sad Liquid has worked on many national cable true crime programs for stations like Discovery ID and National Geographic.

“It’s part of the services we offer,” he said.

Noreika said being back with the Forensic Files program was a great experience. They traveled to a number of locales around the nation including Spokane, Washington; Cocoa Beach, Florida; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and Utica, New York.

One episode, detailing the murder of a woman found shot to death inside a church over an alleged affair with a minister, was filmed locally in Coopersburg.

Liquid’s video team consisted of director of photography Brian Noreika; soundmen David Keller, Mike Marcucci and Jeff Archer; drone pilots Victor June and Andrew O’Shaughnessy; and camera operator Jackson Kitchell.

The series airs Sundays on CNN’s Headline News Channel with two half-hour episodes airing over eight weeks.

It is hosted by narrator Bill Camp.