The UK government has announced that the UK’s big ISP’s are removing caps on data for fixed-line broadband during the coronavirus pandemic.
The joint announcement by the companies, government and Ofcom will affect fixed-line broadband packages, many of which (apart from discounted packages for people on benefits) already offer unlimited data.
The welcome move, which has been agreed between the government and ISPs/telecoms companies and is effective immediately, is in addition to any deals that the ISPs have already announced and applies to Virgin Media, Sky, O2, BT (Openreach and EE), TalkTalk, Three and Vodafone. Also removing data caps are Gigaclear, Hyperopic and Kcom (but not for Kcom’s gaming, streaming and downloading media).
The agreement between the government and the ISPs also includes other helpful measures such as help for those customers struggling to pay bills as a result of the pandemic, moving vulnerable customers to the front of the queue for repairs, and improving mobile and landline package deals.
The government hopes that the deal agreed with the communications companies will help to support and protecting vulnerable customers and older people as well as helping the UK communications network cope with the extra demand, and help people stay connected while staying at home. This, in turn, will help businesses whose employees are working at home, and families who are also likely to need extra capacity.
Welcome, But More Detail Required
Although the deal has been generally welcomed, some have criticised the announcement has lacking detail.
Vodafone Helping The Vulnerable
Last week, Vodafone announced that it is offering 30-days free access to unlimited mobile data for half a million of its Pay Monthly customers as well as upgraded the contracts for those who are categorised as vulnerable. Vodafone is informing eligible customers by text.
Tips From Ofcom
Ofcom’s website offers some general tips on how to ‘stay Connected during the coronavirus’ on its website here: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/phones-telecoms-and-internet/advice-for-consumers/stay-connected
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
Even though many fixed-line broadband packages already offer unlimited data, this is still likely to be a welcome and helpful development both for those working from home and the businesses they work for. Also, the deal is likely to be helpful for families and individuals simply using more data for entertainment while sitting-out coronavirus restrictions. It is also good that vulnerable people have also been considered in the government/Ofcom/ISP deal, and the fact that it is effective immediately.
The criticism, so far, is that despite the announcement, which was widely reported, there hasn’t been much more detail. This may be understandable, however, given that there is a global crisis and that everyone in the UK is currently living under restrictions which are undoubtedly affecting the normal flow of communications in many businesses and organisations.