Openreach halts home visits

In light of current social distancing measures in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19, Openreach have announced a change in operations. If a home visit is involved, they are no longer willing to install new broadband connections. There's no doubt that this is a sensible decision for a country working together to stave off a rising death toll, but what impact will this have on the UK’s Wi-Fi accessibility?

With the vast majority of people now working from home, efficient broadband connections have never been so imperative, nor so heavily relied on. The government now classes Telecom engineers as key workers, with Openreach stating that priority will be assigned to "key national infrastructure such as the NHS, pharmacies and food retailers and distributors”. Ensuring these critical sites are running smoothly is paramount in the pandemic and is obviously far more important than residential incidents. However, there are hundreds of qualified engineers no doubt eager to work in these financially troubling times. Perhaps they could be utilised on a short-term basis for residential call outs, providing social distancing and hygiene rules can still be adhered to. This would allow for the majority of residential faults to be fixed during this critical time.

Interestingly, Virgin Media have taken a different stance, stating that technicians are still making home visits. This is on the proviso that before a visit, customers confirm via text whether they are self-isolating or exhibiting flu-like symptoms. However, Openreach are continuing to work on street side cabinets, where many problems occur. Therefore, many home Wi-Fi issues can still be resolved. For those who lack access to a broadband or telephone connection, Openreach may still be able to provide solutions.