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COVID-19 – Mobile and Broadband ISPs Agree Extra NHS Support

Monday, May 18th, 2020 (5:42 pm) - Score 1,350

Last month saw most of the United Kingdom’s largest broadband and mobile providers agree to a set of new commitments (free data / calls, prioritised upgrades etc.) with the Government to help NHS workers during their fight against COVID-19 (here). Today more providers have joined and the support has been expanded.

At present NHS workers and those classified as vulnerable consumers have already received a great deal of additional support, services and discounts from various telecoms operators over the past couple of months. Until now most of that has been led by the market’s largest providers, but today’s announcement confirms that smaller operators are also playing an increasingly important role.

The new support being announced today has been split into two groups, one providing support to the NHS and the other doing the same for vulnerable consumers. As above, this is on top of all the existing commitments that other operators have already made (far too many individual changes for us to easily summarise here).

Supporting the NHS

Post Office, Voneus, CommunityFibre, Spectrum Internet, Wightfibre, Ask4, Zzoomm, 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, CommunityFibre, Spectrum Internet, 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.

As usual NHS workers will need to be customers of the respective providers in order to benefit and may also need to verify that they are working within the health service, which usually requires an NHS email address and or employee number.

Matt Warman MP, UK 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.”

Andrew Glover, ISPA UK Chair, said:

ISPA supports these measures and have been working with our broader membership on how vulnerable consumers and NHS staff can be provided with the support they need at this time. We are delighted that more of our members are able to commit publicly to these important schemes.

This all comes in addition to a lot of work that broadband providers have been doing behind the scenes to keep the country connected, from connecting new hospitals to supporting those working and learning from home.”

Below is a quick summary of specific offers from several of the operators.

Tesco Mobile: Tesco Mobile will support eligible frontline NHS pay monthly customers with 500GB data and 5000 minutes. Once applied to the customer’s account, extra connectivity will be available until 30 June 2020. More information on how to apply at tescomobile.com/nhs. Free unlimited off-peak minutes are currently available until 1 June 2020, when it will be reviewed. Detail on all our Little helps are at tescomobile.com/littlehelps/

giffgaff: For more information on goodybank you can visit: https://www.giffgaff.com/goodybank

iD Mobile: Using their NHS email address, our customers who are NHS workers will be able to subscribe to unlimited minutes, texts and data at no extra cost from June until the beginning of October via idmobile.co.uk. Similarly, to help our most vulnerable customers we’ve given all our customers over-70 free unlimited minutes until mid-June.

ASK4: The NHS worker should call the ASK4 support team and say that they want to make use of the offer. ASK4 will verify they do indeed work for the NHS, then apply the maximum package upgrade they can receive, which is dependent on the building they live in, and the infrastructure installed. Spectrum Internet: To gain access to any of these offers customers should contact support@spectruminternet.com.

WightFibre: On WightFibre’s full-fibre network on the Isle of Wight, NHS staff calling WightFibre will receive priority install of new broadband within 48 hours (if not already a customer), a 50% discount on all broadband subscriptions for 12 months together with a complimentary speed upgrade to one speed higher than the speed purchased. Where chosen this includes complimentary Whole Home WiFi guarantee and a home telephone line with included Anytime calls. NHS employees must call WightFibre on 01983 240240 and ask for the NHS Employee offer. The offer is not available for purchase online.

Lycamobile: NHS workers can collect a Lycamobile sim card from any store that stocks them across the country and opt in at https://www.lycamobile.co.uk/nhs/ to access a free month of unlimited international calls as well as unlimited UK minutes, texts and data, followed by a monthly 20% discount on the bundle. Low-cost mobile phone bundles for vulnerable consumers with a 10-month sim bundle and three months of comprehensive insurance, covering your device, vehicle and personal injury, are available from https://eshop.lycamobile.co.uk/gov from just £3 per month.

Leave a Comment
5 Responses
  1. Avatar Tim Procter

    Fair play. Thank you.

  2. Avatar Matt

    Hey big thanks from all the hospitality gang for the support… NOT!

    • Avatar CarlT

      ‘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;’

    • Avatar Matt

      I appreciate that however in recent experience this isn’t the experience I’ve had or others in my boat.

      I apologise for ranting but I’m sick of NHS being thrown around like there isn’t anything or anybody else out there making difference…

    • Avatar alex

      “I apologise for ranting but I’m sick of NHS being thrown around like there isn’t anything or anybody else out there making difference…”

      AGREE 110%, im going to rant also.

      What about all the supermarket staff, delivery lorry drivers/logistics in general, train/public transport staff, carers (both for the elderly in care homes and those that visit private homes of elderly and disabled), reserve armed forces members that have been called up, volunteer staff making/sewing/sending items for the NHS like scrubs and more.

      All of these have carried on working, many going above and beyond what they would normally do, risking their life, mixing with the public some of which (care homes a good example) are infected and in general are providing services for the rest of us.

      This whole NHS is our new saviour thing is ridiculous, the whole ‘clap’ thing is also ridiculous now. Around my way the few (thankfully only 4 houses out of a street of 50) that stand outside every Thursday are nothing more than attention seekers.

      What started off as a respectful couple of minutes clapping has turned into a “Who can make the most noise and who will go in last” idiot attention competition. It has gone from a clap to clanging sauce pans to air horns and now the cretins have fireworks. I hope they blow their hand off each week only to find a several hour wait for an ambulance to see how much of a mood they are in to clap (like a one finned dolphin obviously) when it finally arrives.

      Also and perhaps more important after that little rant. Why is it if the ISPA and the its head chair Andrew Glover are in support so much of giving the internet in one form or another away to the NHS is Andrew Glovers ISPs (Air Broadband and Bridge/Connect Fibre may be more i don’t know) not on the list of do-gooders??

      Stupid people fall for this garbage its such a shame.

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