UK government helps remote workers by removing broadband data caps

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The government announced it will remove all broadband data caps to help combat isolation during the COVID-19 outbreak

Self isolation and social distancing due to the current pandemic has created a strain on home broadband services.

This is due to working from home being turned into the new normal overnight and replaced face-to-face meetings with video calls.

The government has therefore agreed new measures with all major internet service and mobile providers.

All data allowance caps on current fixed broadband services will be removed, plus new mobile and landline packages with low cost data boosts and free calls will be introduced by the providers.

In a joint statement with the media regulator Ofcom and data providers, the government said this would “ensure people are connected and the most vulnerable continue to be supported."

Business Comparison is one of the companies that has welcomed the move. Speaking to HR magazine marketing manager Kerry Fawcett said: “With a large proportion of the UK becoming remote workers overnight, it’s imperative that everyone can remain digitally connected with as little interruption to their service as possible.

"Right now, businesses are dependent upon being able to operate as close to business as usual as possible. Hopefully the lift on the cap will allow remote workers to work efficiently from home with little disruption and help achieve their overall business goals.”

Executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles has also supported the government's decision. Ian Tomlinson-Roe, partner at the company's London office and a member of the Heidrick Consulting Practice said:

"Where possible and in line with governance, digitally enabled companies have instigated working from home policies, including ourselves, and access to more data will allow leaders, employees and external parties to stay in contact without incurring extra charges in these trying times.

"This decision will allow business to continue as normally as possible in the face of abnormal circumstances."

The providers that have agreed to the measures are: BT/EE, Openreach, Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk, O2, Vodafone, Three, Hyperoptic, Gigaclear, and KCOM.

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.”

Nick Jeffery, CEO of Vodafone UK added: “Whether you are at home, working from home or a key worker, Vodafone is committed to keeping the UK connected. We know that our technology is making a real difference in helping people through this health crisis.”

Other measures the government has taken to help support people in work include the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme allowing employers to furlough their workers, an extension to tax deadlines, and a suspension of gender pay gap reporting.