BT’s Openreach says it will no longer install new broadband connections when a home visit is involved. Openreach, which runs the broadband network for the majority of broadband service providers, says it will now focus its efforts on other “essential work”.
Exceptions will be made for “vulnerable” users such as the elderly. In these cases, the firm’s engineers will be provided with protective equipment to reduce the risk of catching and spreading the virus.
On the day of the visit, Openreach engineers will also call ahead and ask some simple questions:
- Has anyone in the premises been diagnosed with COVID-19, been asked to self-isolate, or travelled to a coronavirus high-risk area in the last 14 days?
- Is anyone in the premises suffering from flu-like symptoms?
- If the answer to either of those questions is yes, the engineer won’t enter the premises and we’ll reschedule the job for a more appropriate time.
- If the answer to both questions is no, the engineer will enter the premises but take precautions – like asking the customer to stay in another room.
Openreach says it will attempt to complete planned work when it does not involve entering premises. That means a failure in a streetside cabinet affecting a number of homes would still be fixed.
In addition, some customers will be able to install the necessary home equipment themselves.
“A large amount of the work we do can be completed outside, and we can often fix problems without entering a customer’s property,” explained a spokesman. “So, we’re advising our engineers not to complete any work inside a property unless it would leave a vulnerable customer with no form of connection, and it’s not possible to provide one by any other means.”