Over the weekend the UK's big telecoms providers have agreed to a number of government initiatives to make people's lives more bearable under the current Covid-19 crisis. Reuters reports that broadband services have been a particular lifeline for those isolated at home recently, and most companies involved in this service provision appear to have signed up to a number of key policy indications; the removal of all fixed line data caps, making bill payments more flexible, prioritising vulnerable and self-isolating customers (service and repairs), and improving landline (and mobile) packages.
Companies named in a Reuters report as being supportive of the UK government and Ofcom's plans include; BT/EE, Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk, Openreach, O2, Vodafone, Three, Hyperoptic, Gigaclear and KCOM. The Independent Networks Co-operative Association (INCA) with its many members, has also expressed support.
BT/EE's broad response to the coronavirus outlined on its microsite and it closely echoes the government/Ofcom's policy. Virgin Media has a similar set of policies now in place. Sky's dedicated page about the pandemic is again similar - but includes the news that it is giving all its mobile customers an extra 10GB in their data piggy bank. Vodafone has stepped out further by proactively upgrading its Pay Monthly customers who are flagged as vulnerable to a 30 day unlimited free data offer. Please check out your own ISP or mobile provider's website for specific news.
"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 Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden. "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".
Ofcom's chief executive Melanie Dawes welcomed the cooperation of ISPs. Meanwhile, Openreach chief executive Clive Selley said he was thankful that engineers could continue to undertake most of their current projects and workload outside - maintaining service UK-wide.