During Coronavirus, we know that now more than ever that being connected matters – and Openreach is playing a fundamental part in keeping the nation connected while keeping our people and society safe. We’re working very closely with our Communications Provider partners (the 650+ companies who sell, phone, broadband and Ethernet services to homes and businesses), updating our information and guidelines regularly based on UK Government advice.
The work Openreach does is critical with our engineers given Key Worker status. Our number one priority is to keep people connected, and we’ve been working closely with our Communications Provider (CP) partners to minimise the impact of the Government’s restrictions on the services we can provide.
Following Public Health England guidance issued on 11 May, we have started to do work inside customers’ homes and businesses again from Monday 18 May, and where necessary. Whilst there is a high Coronavirus alert level in place, there are special measures we all need to take to keep each other safe.
What to expect if you’ve got an engineer coming
If you're expecting an Openreach engineer to visit your home, they’ll do all they can to get you up and running without entering, but there may be some circumstances where we need to come into your property for a short period of time. Our engineers will be taking special measures to ensure your safety and their own. And if we do need to enter your home, we’ll call you beforehand to talk to you about how we can make our visit as short and safe as possible.
Before our engineer arrives please:
- Clear a path to the main telephone socket or fibre connection point, if you have one.
- With an antibacterial wipe, clean down any surfaces around the telephone socket our engineers may come into contact with.
- Open any windows or doors where the Openreach engineer will probably need to work.
Please ensure you maintain two metres social distancing and, wherever possible, move to a different room. Once the engineer has finished working, they’ll wipe down any surface they’ve touched before leaving.
At the end of the appointment, our engineer will explain what they’ve done - via the phone, WhatsApp or Facetime – whichever suits you best. You can find out more information about the engineer appointment including a video explaining the process on our detailed FAQ page.
Finally, the Government has asked us to carry on extending and upgrading our network to add more capacity and deliver faster, more reliable broadband. That includes building our new Full Fibre network and it means you will still see our engineers working in the street, digging trenches and installing new cables. They’re doing essential work to our network as Key Workers, so please remember to maintain two metres social distancing.
We will continue to update this information as the guidance evolves from both the UK Government, and other UK health organisations.
Thank you for helping us to keep you and our engineers safe.
We know more businesses are asking their employees to work from home during this period, so connecting remotely is important for everyone.
In terms of capacity, our network already manages very heavy usage in the evenings when people are streaming movies or gaming – we've seen a maximum peak of 17.5 Tbps over the Christmas period last year. The types of applications that people use heavily outside of work – like Netflix, Amazon Prime or Sky Go – use more bandwidth than typical working tools like email, collaboration software or even voice and video conferencing which has seen a peak of around 7.5 Tbps during lockdown. So we're confident that our network can deal with a big increase in people working from home.
But if you’re at all concerned about your broadband service and it being able to cope with home working, it’s a good idea to speak to your Communications Provider.
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