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COVID-19 – Openreach Begin Phased Return to In-Home Installs UPDATE

Monday, May 18th, 2020 (1:44 pm) - Score 8,597
telegraph pole engineers fttp openreach 2019

Some good news for those waiting to get a new UK broadband or phone line installed. Openreach’s (BT) engineers are today beginning a “phased return” to conducting work in-home, such as repairs and provisions (installations) of new ISP products (e.g. FTTP, G.fast, Phone Lines etc.).

Back in late March Openreach took the difficult decision (here) to limit many of their new broadband and phone provisions (installs), repair jobs and engineer appointments on a “national basis.” The move was intended to protect both their engineers and customers from the then still rapidly increasing spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

NOTE: Tasks that didn’t require an engineer to enter your home were still able to proceed (e.g. switching between FTTC ISPs).

As a result of that action many installs for new FTTP and G.fast lines, among other services, were delayed and a number of ISPs even opted to withdraw related products from sale, albeit only temporarily. At the time the operator indicated that they hoped to start returning to some degree of normality around 1st June 2020.

The good news is that the spread of COVID-19 is gradually being tackled and the UK lockdown is slowly beginning to soften. Due to this Openreach has informed us that they will, from today, begin taking steps to allow for engineers to conduct work in-home again, such as repairs and provisions. This forms part of a new process for in-home work, which won’t be quite the same as before.

A Spokesperson for Openreach told ISPreview.co.uk:

“After careful consideration and following the Public Health England guidance, we’re going to conduct a phased return to working inside customers’ homes and businesses, starting from today.

We’ll still prioritise working from outside the property first, and we’ll only go inside if the provision or repair job is low risk and takes a short amount of time.”

We should stress that Openreach, much like the UK as a whole, will be constantly reviewing their processes. “The health and safety of our people and our customers will always be our highest priority,” said the operator. In other words, if COVID-19 is beaten (most likely only once a vaccine becomes available) then they’ll be able to return fully back to normal, but if there’s a second or multiple future waves then they might have to re-impose some limits.

UPDATE 20th May 2020

We asked Openreach how they assessed whether a job is low risk and takes a short amount of time and have received the following response.

Openreach Statement

We define whether a job is low risk by ensuring the customer has answered ‘no’ to all three of our screening questions:

– Have you or anyone else living here been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have been asked to self-isolate?

– Do you or anyone else here have Covid-19 symptoms? (categorised as at least one of the following – new continuous cough, high temperature, loss of/change in normal sense of taste or smell)

– Have you or anyone else living here received an NHS letter confirming you’re classified as an extremely vulnerable person and should stay inside (known as shielding) for 12 weeks?

The engineer will only spend a short time in the home. However, prior to our home visit, we share a video with our customers which shows them what we expect of them – i.e. to stay in another room, wipe down surfaces where the engineer will work, open a window to provide adequate ventilation and understand that any post-work conversation will take place via What’s App or from outside the home. This way of working has also been agreed with communications providers.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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29 Responses
    1. fools says:

      WTF Open windows and doors… Ah its so obvious now where we have all been going wrong, not shooing away the virus out of our home.

      This whole thing has really become pathetic now.

      The whole 2 metres (6ft) has always made me laugh considering a single sneeze can travel over 20ft.

      Wiping surfaces you touch or the engineer touches no mention it should be with bleach or other substance to kill viruses and bacteria even if it did say that…. also useless, even more so if you “open all the doors and windows to shoo the “AIR BORN” virus to spread further throughout the house.

      Public Health England and its latest advice….

      If you loose smell or taste PANIC you have the virus. It is not summer time lemmings and its not just maybe hayfeaver like you have had in prior years.

      This ill thought out snowflake crap needs to stop now. Its a virus and like any virus you are either going to be fine or extremely unlucky and catch it no matter what you do.

      It does not magically disappear cos you stayed away from peoples homes for a month and then suddenly over night think things are all dandy if you listen to the government and think (term used bloody loosely) you open doors and windows.

      FFS Wake up plebs. The only thing i fear is this lunacy becoming a damned yearly event now.

    2. Matt says:

      +1 , I agree with the last comment.

    3. CarlT says:

      Yeah I’ll pass on taking medical and epidemiological advice from someone who can’t spell ‘hayfever’ and doesn’t realise ‘airborne’ is a single word with an ‘e’ on the end, but thank you.

      I could deal with the individual points mentioned however if you are who you appear to be I’d be about as well off talking to David Icke.

    4. .fools says:

      Seems we suffer from the same issue you have a problem with, or you have ‘hay fever’ (yes the one with a space). I guess the difference is I am not as quick to judge a persons English skills, when i know they nor any persons is perfect.

    5. alex says:

      “or you have ‘hay fever’ (yes the one with a space).”

      Ouch Burn!

  1. Sam says:

    Thanks for the update, been waiting for this!

    Our road got fttp enabled the day before Openreach stopped doing home installations so have been itching to place an order for months.

    Going from 5mb (on fttc – damn copper wire) to 500mb in June!

    1. Paul says:

      Just ordered the full whack 900mb I cannot wait either, gonna be good times ahead.

  2. Tim Procter says:

    Good news, and to all the engineers stay safe guy’s and thank you.

    1. TXRX says:

      Thanks Tim, we are following guidelines and staying safe! All the best!

  3. Mark says:

    Not sure this is a good idea.. but I certainly do not think we are in any state to relax any lockdown anyway.. I think we’ll get a second wave hit like a ton of bricks.

    1. Matt says:

      Gonna come back sometime, whole put of lock down was to reduce impact at peak, we’re over peak now so time to deal with it….

      Or we can spend the rest of our life times scared, at home and watch life as we know it dissapear….

    2. Ross says:

      In my opinion… Providers should be giving out portable hotpots for people who are having issues with Internet. If you have no signal on your hot-spot only then should an engineer be sent out. Let’s protect engineers and public even more. Just until everything settles or not, considering this is not the new norm

    3. alex says:

      “Or we can spend the rest of our life times scared, at home and watch life as we know it dissapear….”

      Those that are that scared of getting ill (statistically more chance of getting hit by a car than dying from covid) should stay locked in their home away from society. That can be their new normal if they want it, the old normal should be left to carry on as always.

      I am not particular scared of getting ill, and if others think i am going to give them the lurgy then stay the F&*k away from me in your bunker.

  4. Sam says:

    Engineers still entered my house. Had 4 out 3/4 came into the property…

    1. Ross says:

      Openreach only enter houses on repair tasks that have an appointment and they must ask 3 questions confirming your not vunrable, not sick and not just back from a high risk country. There is even a video on what to do when you book a engineer to come. This article is misleading and is missing so much info.

    2. alex says:

      Pointless questions from pointless wanna be doctors.

      You can be symptom free but have the virus.

      Also how many, especially those that for example have been without a working phone line for weeks are actually going to answer yes to any of those questions.

      As to the cough thing, you could had previously had the virus but no longer be infected, yet still have a dry cough. The dry cough according to NHS website can last for several weeks after infection has gone.

      This whole scared witless, panic, lark is going to be even worse over the next couple of months. As a poster touched on and put it above i suspect the lemmings of society are going to be more afraid now when they see someone walking down the road sneezing their head off because they have hay fever and nothing more. And those lemmings with hay fever and nothing more are going to be convinced they have Covid because some of the symptoms like cough and lack of smell match…

  5. Susan cook says:

    I hope to learn much more about many,many things

  6. Susan. Cook says:

    Interested in Learnig lots of things on lots of subjects

  7. Susan. Cook says:

    I would like to find out and learn more,and more on a wide range of subjects

  8. Susan. Cook says:

    I have a lot more to learn,and education,and i would like to meet people and tweet to other people about many things

  9. Susan. Cook says:

    I have a lot more to learn,and education,and i would like to meet people and tweet to other people about many things,and have opinions on subjects,of all sorts of stuff,Learning is fun,when you have many opinions Talk to people ask there opinions make comments,ask people to comment really get to talk to many people.

  10. Susan. Cook says:

    I have a lot more to learn,and education,and i would like to meet people and tweet to other people about many things,and have opinions on subjects,of all sorts of stuff,Learning is fun,when you have many opinions Talk to people ask there opinions make comments,ask people to comment really get to talk to many people.
    What more can i say at the moment.

  11. Susan. Cook says:

    I have never been on Twitter I would learn as I went along given the opertunative and chance

  12. Susan cook says:

    How can i prove myself if i have not,been given the chance

  13. Susan cook says:

    I have used my Tablet for just over 2 years now and I go on face book and messenger,online shopping Google,photos,YouTube,and games,and now I would like to go on Twitter for a change ihave learned many things,so I would like a change.

  14. Susan cook says:

    I think I have explained enough on Twitter now,and that I should be given the chance to prove myself for a bigger,i also think the Lockdown was much to soon as many people do not practice distancing,and flouting the rules Malkin it angering for everyone concerned,and not wearing a mask to protect themselves,or other people,that are also vulnerable.I think I should now be trusted to use Twitter for this moment in time thank you Susan cook
    Ps I would like for you to let me go on to use Twitter.

  15. Dan says:

    Only if they gave early installation dates! We were due just before lockdown and got date for 8 July!!!

    1. sam says:

      I haven’t even got a date yet order placed on the 12th March

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