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Telecoms companies to support vulnerable consumers through COVID-19

Coronavirus: Government gains agreenent from internet providers to keep people connected during pandemic

Mark Moran
30 March 2020
Providers have committed to working with customers who find it difficult to pay their bill as a result of COVID-19
Providers have committed to working with customers who find it difficult to pay their bill as a result of COVID-19

 

Internet providers have committed to working with customers who find it difficult to pay their bill as a result of pandemic

Following discussions with the Digital Secretary and Ofcom, the UK’s major telecommunications providers have agreed a set of important commitments to support and protect vulnerable consumers and those who may become vulnerable due to circumstances arising from COVID-19.

Internet service and mobile providers, namely BT/EE, Openreach, Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk, O2, Vodafone, Three, Hyperoptic, Gigaclear, and KCOM have all agreed the following commitments, effective immediately:

  • All providers have committed to working with customers who find it difficult to pay their bill as a result of COVID-19 to ensure that they are treated fairly and appropriately supported.
  • All providers will remove all data allowance caps on all current fixed broadband services.
  • All providers have agreed to offer some new, generous mobile and landline packages to ensure people are connected and the most vulnerable continue to be supported. For example, some of these packages include data boosts at low prices and free calls from their landline or mobile.
  • All providers will ensure that vulnerable customers or those self-isolating receive alternative methods of communication wherever possible if priority repairs to fixed broadband and landlines cannot be carried out.

These commitments are in addition to a range of supportive measures offered by the individual providers to their customers affected by circumstances arising from COVID-19.

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “It is essential that people stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives. This package helps people to stay connected whilst they stay home.”

Melanie Dawes, chief executive of Ofcom said: “We recognise providers are dealing with unprecedented challenges at the moment. So we welcome them stepping up to protect vulnerable customers, at a time when keeping in touch with our friends and families has never been more important. We’ll continue to work with Government and industry to help make sure people stay connected.”

Clive Selley, chief executive of Openreach said: “With connections to more than 24 million customer premises across the UK, we know our network is critical. We’ll do everything we can to keep people connected while prioritising our support for critical public services, vulnerable customers and those without a working line.”

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