The UK's biggest phone & broadband providers including BT, Vodafone, Sky, O2, TalkTalk, Tesco and Virgin Media have put competition to one side to come together and launch a national information campaign to educate customers on how to manage the recent increase in home broadband and mobile phone use.
The campaign was partly negotiated by OFCOM, and covers a range of tips for people who want to reduce their impace on our overburdened networks as we face mandatory confinement as a result of COVID-19. The campaign has been shared through a number digital and social media channels, and has also been communicated directly to customers of the participating companies.
Advice ranges from 'staggering' family time spent online, to switching off wifi devices when they're not being used.
All data caps have been scrapped to ensure that the public are able to access necessary services during lockdown, which is expected to continue until the coronavirus outbreak has been brought under control.
Melanie Dawes is the Ofcom chief executive. She said: 'Families around the UK are going online together this week, often juggling work and keeping children busy at the same time. We’re encouraging people to read our advice on getting the most from their broadband, home phones and mobiles.'
There's no doubt that leaders in the telecommunications industry are concerned about the levels of use being witnessed across the UK. They have real-time visibility of national usage and capacity. It's worth noting though, that lower public internet use does reduce operational costs for telecoms companies, so this may be a factor in requesting users to watch their use.
The European commission has already secured an agreement with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube and Disney+ to cap streaming video speeds for 30 days to reduce data loads across EU countries. Sony has also limited the speed at which gamers in Europe can download games, although they've stated that multiplayer gaming will not be affected.
Our advice to consumers is to use these services as you need to - without being unduly excessive. It's your responsibility to pay your bills; it's the providers' responsibility to maintain the service. Most broadband services were sold as unlimited, and as smart devices become more common, broadband companies will need to invest in a lot more capacity anyway.
Pete has worked in the telecoms industry for 16 years - and launched this comparison service to provide a better deal to customers nationwide.