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Connectivity boost for vulnerable consumers and NHS staff

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Thousands of vulnerable consumers and NHS staff can benefit from coronavirus support packages provided by mobile and broadband companies as part of new deals brokered by the UK government.

  • New deals mean many NHS frontline staff get data, texts and calls at no extra cost
  • New mobile and landline packages to help vulnerable consumers stay connected
  • Follows commitments made by UK’s major internet service and mobile providers

More companies have agreed to give NHS frontline staff across the UK who are existing customers the data, texts and calls they need at no additional cost. Other measures include a move to prioritise broadband upgrades for NHS clinicians working from home.

Other firms are committing to work with customers who find it difficult to pay their bill as a result of coronavirus, remove data allowances on fixed broadband services and offer generous new mobile and landline packages.

The move follows two previous announcements that the UK’s major internet service and mobile providers had agreed commitments to support and protect vulnerable consumers and the NHS.

Matt Warman, Minister for Digital Infrastructure, said:

“Our telecoms industry is doing vital work keeping the UK connected. I thank all the companies and workers doing their bit for the national effort and to support the NHS.

“Today a number of providers have agreed new commitments so vulnerable consumers and frontline NHS staff have an extra level of support with their mobile and broadband connections.”

Supporting the NHS

Post Office, Voneus, Community Fibre, Spectrum, Wightfibre, Ask4, Zzoom, Lycamobile and iD mobile, have agreed, for some or all of the Covid-19 period, to support NHS workers by:

  • Giving NHS frontline staff, who are existing customers, the data, texts and calls they need at no additional cost;
  • Prioritising broadband upgrades for NHS clinicians working from home;
  • Improving connectivity for care homes with slow or no broadband connections, wherever possible.

Some of the above providers who have also signed up to the vulnerable consumer commitments are offering more generous mobile data allowances. This should help patients who can only use their mobile phones for video consultations.

Supporting vulnerable consumers

Post Office, Voneus, Community Fibre, Spectrum, Tesco Mobile, iD Mobile and giffgaff will support vulnerable consumers by:

Committing 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; – Removing data allowances on fixed broadband services; – Offering new, generous mobile and landline packages to help people stay connected; – Providing alternative means of communication to vulnerable consumers and those self-isolating if priority repairs to fixed broadband and landlines cannot be completed.

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