BT removes home broadband limits during Covid-19 outbreak

BT is to remove all caps on home broadband plans to give customers unlimited data while working from home or self-isolating.

The BT Group, which also includes mobile network EE, said it wanted to help people stay connected during periods of isolation because of the coronavirus outbreak.

If comes after the firm said it was among networks in talks with the Government over allowing ministers to use anonymised mobile data to monitor whether people are following social distancing measures.

BT said the talks were part of discussions with the Government over how it could aid in the fight against the Covid-19 outbreak.

As part of its own plans, BT said it was also introducing measures to support its “most vulnerable customers”.

For its BT landline-only customers, the firm said it was removing out-of-bundle charges for UK landline and mobile calls and was placing a £5-per-month cap on bills.

BT consumer division chief executive Marc Allera said: “Personal and local support is important for every customer, but no more so than our vulnerable customers and their carers – who we are treating as a priority.

“We have specialist teams trained in how to help customers with physical disabilities, mental health issues and a specialist dementia support team, who are doing their very best to ensure those vulnerable customers in isolation get the support they need.”

Mr Allera added that the firm was confident its network could handle any extra traffic because of an increase in people working from home.

“We know that working from home won’t generate significantly more traffic across our network than working in the office, even with more video calling and conferencing, HD streaming and now digital homeschooling,” he said.

“We also have a dedicated team of brilliant engineers in our network operations centre monitoring 24/7 for even the slightest issues.

“They’ve seen mobile calls go up, but data usage go down and have even deployed extra monitoring on all areas across our network to stay on top of this constantly evolving situation.”

UK mobile networks had previously agreed to allow users to access NHS websites for free, without using any data and even if they had no data allowance left.

Other networks and services are also taking steps to ease pressure on internet connectivity, with Netflix confirming it will reduce stream quality across Europe for 30 days to ease the strain on internet service providers.

BT said it would keep its more than 600 UK stores open for anyone needing to speak to an expert, and was asking its “most important people” to come in to contact centres to respond to customer queries.

“We’re asking colleagues to remain vigilant and to protect themselves by strictly following personal hygiene measures,” he said.

“We’ve increased the cleaning throughout our stores and call centres. We are building in social distancing wherever possible in our centres, having people sit and work further apart.

“We’re paying our people fully, even if they need to isolate, giving them the security to make the right decisions for their health and the health of their loved ones. We’ve also placed a travel ban between sites.”