The UK government and major broadband and mobile providers have agreed to a number of commitments to ease communications during the coronavirus pandemic.
Communications regulator Ofcom has struck a deal with several key providers, including BT/EE, Openreach, Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk, O2, Vodafone and Three. They will each make some changes to plans, or offer different incentives to help “support and protect vulnerable consumers and those who may become vulnerable due to circumstances arising from COVID-19”.
Providers will remove any data allowance caps on their fixed broadband services. To be honest, it is reasonably rare for UK broadband services to be data capped, but restrictions will be lifted for the duration of the crisis if so.
All providers – broadband and mobile – will work with customers who find it difficult to pay their bills, in a fair and supportive manner.
New “generous” mobile and landline packages will be created to ensure the most vulnerable people can be connected and remain supported – including some with data boosts at low prices and/or free calls.
And, all providers are committed to help vulnerable or self-isolating customers by offering alternative methods of communication if fixes to faulty broadband or landline connections cannot be carried out.
“It’s fantastic to see mobile and broadband providers pulling together to do their bit for the national effort by helping customers, particularly the most vulnerable, who may be struggling with bills at this difficult time,” said the UK’s digital secretary, Oliver Dowden.