Openreach revises work plan after travel curbs announced on 23rd March - updated 4:40pm
Following on from the Prime Minsters statement to the nation on the evening of 23rd March 2020 there is a lot of changes happening across the UK as firms respond to the lockdown.
Openreach is now aiming to prioritise only essential work, this will achieve two main things, reducing the risk to those who are designated key workers at Openreach and thus still going to work and the general public they may encounter.
With immediate effect:
- Appointment books will be closed for new appointed provision with books moved out to 1 June 2020
- We will attempt to complete appointed inflight orders outside of the premises
- Non appointed orders will continue to go ahead where no visit is required to go the premises (transfers, upgrades to fibre to the cabinet)
- Repair books will remain open at this time - we are reviewing non urgent repair
- Engineers will be asked NOT to enter the end customer premises and to enable/restore service where possible from outside of the premises
- We will ask CPs to help us identify Critical Network Infrastructure and vulnerable end customer tasks in order to prioritise these
Provision work carried out by Service Delivery and Fibre and Network Delivery will be limited to:
- Self-install activities (i.e. where there is no engineering visit to the end customer premises)
- Service to vulnerable end customers (in-home and carried out safely, only where essential)
- Those end customers who have no other form of broadband or telephony available - and we will look to deal with these via escalation channels jointly with the CP to find a solution that doesn't require a home visit.
- On-premises work for critical national infrastructure customers (NHS, pharmacies, utilities, emergency services, retail and wholesale food outlets, financial services businesses and other categories defined by the Government).
Repair work for both volume and business products will continue to be focused on restoring service with safe working practices, and with revised processes to further reduce social interaction wherever possible.
The result is effectively if you have a migration already underway as this needs no visit to your house these will still go ahead, but for those keen to get full fibre installed these will be put off for now since it requires access to the home.
Given the need to ensure Openreach can continue to operate and repair critical infrastructure the reigning in of the amount of work being done makes sense, even if it won't be popular with some people no doubt.
While the usual advise is to not share wi-fi passwords, if a neighbours broadband goes down then sharing a wi-fi password to allow them to stay in contact with their family is a good idea. Remember some wireless routers have guest access options that are ideal for this, obviously DO NOT go into the neighbours house to type the password in for them, but share it on a piece of paper help up outside for example.
For those working from home if your broadband does break, the speed of the repair is very much going to depend on how critical the work you are doing is. For those working from home it is worthwhile double checking that the Wi-Fi hotspot option on your phone works, i.e. much better to spend time checking now as broadband is bound to break just when you were about to send what feels like an important email.
Update at 4:40pm on 24th March to add statement from Openreach.
Our number one priority is to keep people connected, and we’ve been working closely with our Communications Provider customers to minimise the impact that the Government’s new restrictions have on the services we can provide.
We know that what Openreach does is critical, and connecting people has never been more important. That’s why many of our roles have been given ‘key worker’ status.
That said, the safety of our people and the public is come first and, based on the new guidance, we’re now prioritising essential work.
That means we’re focussing on the repair and maintenance of connections that support critical national infrastructure, essential public services, vulnerable customers and those without service. And our CP customers are helping us to identify and prioritise these groups.
We’ve also advised our engineers to avoid entering customer premises. A large amount of our work we do can be completed outside, and we can often fix problems without entering a customer's property – so we’re advising them not to complete any work inside a property unless it would leave a vulnerable customer with no form of connection, and it's not possible to provide one by any other means.Statement from Openreach spokesperson