UK big five carriers bin wired broadband download quotas for as long as we're all stuck indoors

Keep Calm And Stream Video, on generous new discount plans and payment terms


The UK's big five telecoms companies have lifted data caps on all current fixed broadband services to ensure residents get the internet they need while locked down to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

BT, Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk and O2 agreed to remove all data allowances on current landline broadband after talks with the government and regulator Ofcom. The changes will come into effect immediately.

The telcos also agreed to offer new mobile and landline packages to help vulnerable people stay connected during the pandemic. The new plans include data boosts for lower prices and free calls from mobiles and landlines.

As part of the deal, the telecoms companies also pledged fair treatment for anyone struggling to pay their bills as a result of the virus outbreak. And for those whose broadband needs fixing while they're locked down, there's a pledge to offer alternative methods of communication.

This announcement comes not long after most mobile networks collectively promised to zero-rate official websites relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing customers to get reliable information and support without having to worry about eating up their data allowance.

The initiatives won government and regulatory approval.

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."

Melanie Dawes, chief exec of Ofcom, said: "We'll continue to work with Government and industry to help make sure people stay connected."

The deal comes in an apparent U-turn to an leaked internal memo at BT last week, which said the company would halt all but the most essential home visits and refuse new connection requests until June as it dealt with the fallout from the virus. BT did not respond to The Register's requests for clarification.

But BT remains confident that its networks can handle the added workload. Earlier this month, it said that although weekday daytime traffic has increased between 35 and 60 per cent, it is still half the average peak evening usage, and "nowhere near" the network's full capacity. Vodafone and TalkTalk, which have seen similar increases, also stand by their networks. ®

Narrower topics


Other stories you might like

  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading
  • Big Tech loves talking up privacy – while trying to kill privacy legislation
    Study claims Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, Microsoft work to derail data rules

    Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft often support privacy in public statements, but behind the scenes they've been working through some common organizations to weaken or kill privacy legislation in US states.

    That's according to a report this week from news non-profit The Markup, which said the corporations hire lobbyists from the same few groups and law firms to defang or drown state privacy bills.

    The report examined 31 states when state legislatures were considering privacy legislation and identified 445 lobbyists and lobbying firms working on behalf of Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, and Microsoft, along with industry groups like TechNet and the State Privacy and Security Coalition.

    Continue reading
  • SEC probes Musk for not properly disclosing Twitter stake
    Meanwhile, social network's board rejects resignation of one its directors

    America's financial watchdog is investigating whether Elon Musk adequately disclosed his purchase of Twitter shares last month, just as his bid to take over the social media company hangs in the balance. 

    A letter [PDF] from the SEC addressed to the tech billionaire said he "[did] not appear" to have filed the proper form detailing his 9.2 percent stake in Twitter "required 10 days from the date of acquisition," and asked him to provide more information. Musk's shares made him one of Twitter's largest shareholders. The letter is dated April 4, and was shared this week by the regulator.

    Musk quickly moved to try and buy the whole company outright in a deal initially worth over $44 billion. Musk sold a chunk of his shares in Tesla worth $8.4 billion and bagged another $7.14 billion from investors to help finance the $21 billion he promised to put forward for the deal. The remaining $25.5 billion bill was secured via debt financing by Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Barclays, and others. But the takeover is not going smoothly.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022