Frustrated broadband users in the UK wishing to switch Internet providers may not be able to switch after BT said Openreach engineers would prioritize major bug fixes and upgrades to avoid unnecessary home visits.
Openreach, BT’s engineering division and the company that controls the country’s telecommunications infrastructure, announced Tuesday that it has asked the major Internet service providers to use its network to “limit the movement of end customers between networks” in order to Reduce home visits.
Companies like TalkTalk, Sky, Zen and BT’s own consumers use the Openreach network to offer customers broadband services.
Openreach said its engineers would now prioritize “essential” jobs such as fault repairs, road upgrades, and reconnecting vulnerable customers to “absolutely minimize” any job that an engineer would have to enter, such as: B. Completion of work to change suppliers.
Customers wishing to switch providers can still request this, but their order may not be processed until the social distancing restrictions have been removed.
Millions of people had to work from home due to state restrictions on movement. This has tested the strength of broadband and cellular networks and triggered an increase in the number of customers looking for faster broadband service.
Richard Tang, chairman of Zen Internet, an Openreach customer, said the number of applications that should be updated to faster packets on his network in the past week has increased significantly. “We saw a flight to quality,” he said.
According to the government, telecommunications engineers are considered “key workers” and underline the importance of the sector at a time when people were told not to leave the home unless absolutely necessary. However, entering homes to install new equipment or fix bugs has become a gray area for the industry as the government provides advice on social distancing and isolation.
“The security of our people and the public [comes first] We are now prioritizing important work based on the new guidelines, ”said Openreach.
The switch between providers who use Openreach can often be completed by the end customer using self-installation processes.
However, engineers have to enter a home if they choose Virgin Media, which has its own network that covers half the country, or dozens of smaller full-fiber players who have built their own networks.
Virgin Media said the company had not made a decision about its own policy to change customers.
Existing orders to switch between Openreach and Virgin Media must be completed, however, otherwise customers could be cut off at a critical time.