Many of us are relying more than ever on the internet to stay connected to the outside world. It's important to be able to stay informed, be able to socialise virtually and to take our mind off things by streaming films, music or playing video games online.
The outbreak of coronavirus has meant companies that provide internet access to us whether through broadband or through our phones have also had to make change that can have an effect on our internet use.
How will my broadband service be affected?
A number of companies that provide services like broadband and mobile data in the UK have reached an agreement with the UK Government and OFCOM to remove data caps on 'fixed-line broadband'.
This means that if you have broadband provided to your home but the amount that you can use the internet is limited by your provider, that limit will now be removed.
For some providers, their ability to provide new services to new customers or fix faults has also been affected, you should check with your provider to see if there has been any changes to an order you have placed or the service you are getting.
How will my mobile data be affected?
As part of the agreement, providers have said they will offer 'generous' new packages for mobile and landline services.
The companies who have signed up to the broadband and mobile data commitments include:
- BT, including its Openreach and EE divisions
- Virgin Media
Many mobile data providers have also made changes like not charging any data for you to access important sites like the NHS website or gov.uk, you should check with your provider as soon as possible to see what changes they have made.
What if I can't afford to keep paying for my mobile data or broadband?
The agreement that has been reached also includes a commitment to “fairly and appropriately” support customers who have trouble paying their bills.
If this is an issue you think will impact you, speak to your provider to see what support they are able to offer you.
Where can I find out more information?
Many companies have released information about what changes are being made through their websites. These companies all have information specific to your service and how it may be affected by the coronavirus outbreak:
If you cannot see your provider, or they have not given an update to you through their website or by contacting you directly, you should get in touch with them to see what changes may be affecting your service.