To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to ensure that customers who have been identified as being of vulnerable or priority status under coronavirus guidance, and therefore in need of broadband services as critical infrastructure, are able to ensure prompt repair and resumption of their broadband services where those are suspended.
4 February 2021
The Government recognises the importance of digital connectivity, particularly during this difficult period. For repairs, broadband providers are able to send new equipment to their consumers via postal delivery or using click and collect services, and telecoms engineers are able to visit residential properties to instal or fix broadband connections under the current Covid-19 guidelines.
More broadly, Ofcom has rules in place, known as general conditions, which all providers must follow, that mandate communication providers to have procedures and policies in place to identify and support vulnerable consumers. Under these industry rules, providers must provide a priority fault repair service for disabled consumers of landline, broadband and mobile services.
Ofcom has also recently published a vulnerability guide for providers, setting out their expectations and good practice on how vulnerable telecoms consumers should be supported. This includes steps providers can take to identify vulnerable consumers, and an expectation that all providers implement specialist teams in order to provide extra support for vulnerable consumers.