Telecom companies and the government offered support to NHS workers and vulnerable consumers in recent months as coronavirus continued to take a toll. The first two announcements were made on April 10 and March 29 and today, even more organisations have been added to the mix.
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The scheme itself will support NHS frontline staff across the UK who will be able to use additional data, texts and calls at no extra cost.
Other firms within the scheme have committed to working with vulnerable customers who are finding it difficult to pay their bill as a result of coronavirus.
They will remove data allowances on fixed broadband services and offer generous new mobile and landline packages.
The companies signing up today have been commended by the government for their efforts.
As Matt Warman, the Minister for Digital Infrastructure, commented: “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.”
While the companies involved may offer their supportive services to both NHS workers and vulnerable customers, the government organise them into two separate categories.
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Supporting the NHS
NHS workers can receive the following support from the Post Office, Voneus, Community Fibre, Spectrum, Wightfibre, Ask4, Zzoom, Lycamobile and iD mobile:
- Existing NHS customers can receive extra data, texts and calls for no additional cost
- Prioritised broadband upgrades for those working at home
- Improved connectivity for care homes with slow or no broadband connections, wherever possible
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Supporting vulnerable consumers
Struggling consumers may be struggling to cover their bills at the moment, with the costs not being exclusively limited to telecom bills.
Because of this, several companies have committed to provide struggling consumers with cost saving support.
The Post Office, Voneus, Community Fibre, Spectrum, Tesco Mobile, iD Mobile and giffgaff have committed to:
- Removing data allowances on fixed broadband services
- Offer new generous mobile and landline packages
- Provide alternative means of communication to vulnerable consumers and those self-isolating if repairs to broadband technology cannot be completed
The support scheme has been commended by many professional organisations in the field, with Tesco and giffgff being particularly supportive.
Tom Denyard, the CEO of Tesco Mobile provided the following comments: “It’s our privilege to be able to help people stay connected, especially our frontline NHS staff and vulnerable customers.
“We want to do all we can to help those that have been impacted by the crisis, as well as recognising our incredible NHS workers for everything they’ve done and continue to do.
“We hope our Little Helps offer some comfort during this difficult time, but if customers need support or are worried about anything on their account, we encourage them to get in touch.”
Ash Scholfield, the CEO at giffgaff expressed similar sentiment: “At giffgaff, we have always had community at our heart and never has a sense of community been more important.
“Already supporting NHS staff by ensuring they never run out of data as they work from home helping serve their patients, we have also set up goodybank, our initiative to help vulnerable members during this current crisis.
“We want people to know they can ask for help and someone will always be there to offer that support and keep them connected.
“We’re proud to say that our members are an altruistic bunch, and the goodybank also allows them to get involved should they wish to help.”
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