Deputy Denis Naughten has welcomed measures by the telecoms industry aimed at helping those working from home as well those who may be isolating.
“I am delighted to see that the industry – which includes all the major telecom providers – has made a number of commitments to enable people to keep in touch with both work and loved ones during the ongoing restrictions,” Deputy Naughten said.
“Many households have experienced challenges with data limits in the last month as they attempt to work from home, keep in contact with family and friends and, in many cases, access online resources for home-schooling. This is an issue that I highlighted with industry representatives over a fortnight ago and today’s announcement will ensure customers can access unlimited data packages from their providers which removes unnecessary worries.
“I particularly welcome the move by the providers to give free access to healthcare and educational resource websites that are identified by the Government where technically feasible. Over the last month we have seen the importance of consulting only reliable news sources, and this will ensure people can continue to access the latest, accurate up to date information on Covid-19.”
Deputy Naughten also encouraged anyone experiencing difficulty paying bills as a result of Covid-19 to contact their telecoms provider as soon as possible. “Providers have committed to working with customers to find the best way of keeping them connected,” he added.
The commitments from the industry include:
1. Any fixed broadband customers who do not have unlimited usage already as standard will be given the opportunity, if they require, to upgrade their package (which may be on a temporary basis ), with their current service provider.
2. Any customer who does not have fixed broadband and who relies solely on mobile access to the Internet will have the opportunity to avail of an affordable unlimited mobile data access package from their service provider.
3. Fair usage policies will not be automatically applied to unlimited fixed and mobile data packages.
4. Service providers may implement appropriate permitted traffic management measures to avoid network congestion.
5. Access to healthcare and educational resource websites identified by the Government will be zero-rated for all customers where technically feasible.
6. To ensure customers can remain connected during the crisis, service providers will engage with any customer that contacts them who is in financial difficulty as a result of Covid-19 and has difficulty paying their bills to agree the best way of keeping them connected to voice and data.
7. Service providers will work with ComReg in the event of complaints raised to ComReg by consumers who consider they are not being treated in accordance with these commitments.