Broadband providers to lift data caps during coronavirus lockdown

Susannah Alexander
Photo credit: oatawa - Getty Images

From Digital Spy

Data allowance caps on fixed broadband services are set to be removed following a deal agreed by the government and telecommunications companies due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Major internet and mobile providers including BT/EE, Openreach, Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk, O2, Vodafone, Three, Hyperoptic, Gigaclear and KCOM, have pledged that anyone who is struggling to pay their bills due to the outbreak will be treated fairly and supported, according to The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The measures, which are effective immediately, are designed to help vulnerable people stay connected through the pandemic, according to The Guardian.

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The firms will also offer new mobile and landline packages to make sure that people stay connected while isolating, which could mean users have access to packages featuring low-cost data boosts and free phone calls.

The companies have also said that particularly vulnerable customers should be given alternative methods of communication wherever possible when they are waiting for repairs.

The digital secretary Oliver Dowden said: "It's fantastic to see mobile and broadband providers pulling together to do their bit for the national effort by helping customers, particularly the most vulnerable, who may be struggling with bills at this difficult time.

"It is essential that people stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives. This package helps people to stay connected whilst they stay home."

Photo credit: Getty Images

With everybody now staying at home for the foreseeable future, streaming services have also responded to the increased demand for home entertainment by cutting back on bandwidth by 25% throughout Europe.

Both Disney+ and Netflix have slowed down their streaming speeds in response to high consumer demand.

Kevin Mayer, Chairman of Direct-To-Consumer & International at The Walt Disney Company, said of Disney+: "In the coming days, we will be monitoring Internet congestion and working closely with Internet service providers to further reduce bitrates as necessary to ensure they are not overwhelmed by consumer demand."

The information in this story is accurate as of the publication date. While we are attempting to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the situation surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to develop rapidly, so it's possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since publishing. For any concerns and latest advice, visit the World Health Organisation. If you're in the UK, the National Health Service can also provide useful information and support, while US users can contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

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