Openreach, which runs the broadband network for the majority of Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) in the UK, has said it will no longer be sending engineers to fit home broadband until after June 1st, 2020 to protect its staff from coronavirus.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently announced that all members of the public should remain in their homes, and only venture out if essential. Shopping trips, daily exercise and travel to ‘key’ jobs are all that is allowed.
The latest rules on movement have forced millions across the UK to work from home, increasing internet usage and putting strain on services. Closures of schools is also seeing children study from home, and people who have lost their jobs due to the virus are now using devices and internet services more than usual.
These changes have made it vital that internet services are kept up and running throughout the period and making companies such as Openreach and ISP’s essential.
Many roles at Openreach have been given the ‘key worker’ status under the new rules on important services that are required during the coronavirus outbreak.
The company commented: “Our number one priority is to keep people connected, and we’ve been working closely with our Communications Provider customers to minimise the impact that the Government’s new restrictions have on the services we can provide.
“We know that what Openreach does is critical and connecting people has never been more important. That’s why many of our roles have been given ‘key worker’ status.
“That said, the safety of our people and the public comes first and, based on the new guidance, we’re now prioritising essential work.
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During the countrywide social distancing period, Openreach says it will only be providing its services for essential services that are required to remain open such as hospitals, as well as making exceptions for vulnerable people and the elderly, attempting to carry out the work from the outside of properties if possible.
The company continued: “That means we’re focusing on the repair and maintenance of connections that support critical national infrastructure, essential public services, vulnerable customers and those without service. And our CP customers are helping us to identify and prioritise these groups.
“We’ve also advised our engineers to avoid entering customer premises. A large amount of our work we do can be completed outside, and we can often fix problems without entering a customer’s property – so we’re advising them not to complete any work inside a property unless it would leave a vulnerable customer with no form of connection, and it’s not possible to provide one by any other means.”