Internet providers in the UK have agreed to a package of measures designed to help people isolate.

The British government struck a deal with BT/EE, Openreach, Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk, O2, Vodafone, Three, Hyperoptic, Gigaclear, and KCOM.

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “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.”

As part of the deal, all the aforementioned providers have agreed to:

  • Work 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.

  • Remove all data allowance caps on all current fixed broadband services.

  • Agree 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.

  • 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.

The new measures should help to provide confidence to people doing the right thing by staying at home and helping to “flatten the curve” of the coronavirus pandemic.

Some of the providers had already put in their own ways to support customers but the new agreement helps to ensure all of the major providers make the same commitments.

Melanie Dawes, CEO 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.”

(Photo by Corinne Kutz  on Unsplash )

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