Are you struggling with poor broadband? Upgrades could start again next week, Openreach has confirmed
Openreach, which provides the broadband infrastructure that companies like BT, EE, Sky, Plusnet, TalkTalk and Vodafone provide, will resume installing new ultra-fast connections on Monday March 15, 2021. Due to ongoing restrictions across the UK, Openreach has suspended all new installations until March 1st, 2021. However, with the latest update, Openreach has postponed the deadline.
The original decision was made in January when Prime Minister Boris Johnson re-announced plans for a national lockdown after numerous cases and the spread of a new variant that was more easily transferable. According to Openreach, the move should protect both engineers and customers by restricting all work in the house.
Similar measures were taken over the past year in response to increased hospital stays and lockdowns.
The UK government has announced a roadmap to end the lockdown, which entered its first phase on Monday 8 March when school children returned to the classroom. With the lifting of the restrictions, Openreach is re-examining whether it can change its own rules for engineer visits.
With millions staying home to stop the spread of the respiratory virus, we have all increasingly relied on our broadband connection to work, study, socialize, and shop. Coupled with the surge in popularity of streaming platforms like Netflix and Disney +, which happened to be launched in the UK when lockdown measures first went into effect across the country early last year, families were never reliant on their home internet.
Given that the UK has some of the worst average broadband speeds in Europe (not to mention the world) many have found they keep working depending on their BT, Sky, TalkTalk, EE or Plusnet connection, study, chat with family and friends. Hosting pub quizzes about Zoom and every episode of Tiger King, The Mandalorian and Bridgerton that are extremely stressful.
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With luck, broadband upgrades may take place for those who need them most as cases continue to drop and restrictions are relaxed.
“In all cases, our engineers will continue to conduct a personal risk assessment and adhere to current security guidelines,” Openreach told Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in a statement.
Unfortunately, those who depend on the Openreach infrastructure and want to switch to another provider that uses their own full fiber cable – such as Virgin Media, Hyperoptic or others – have to wait two more years for the process to be as easy as switching, for example Sky, BT and TalkTalk. This is because industry regulator Ofcom has postponed plans to force companies to force the switch between broadband companies by December 2022 instead of the original December 2020 deadline.
Switching between providers that rely on the same Openreach infrastructure is currently quite easy. All you have to do is contact the new Internet Service Provider (ISP) you have chosen and choose a contract. Then everything else is done behind the scenes. After that, your new provider will likely send out a new router in the mail – as well as possibly some new home phones. And then you’re good to go. You will be informed when the switch is likely to take place, and you can unplug the old kit and plug in the new one.
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However, if you want to switch from one Openreach-supplied company to another provider like Virgin Media, you’ll have to do the process yourself. There is no automatic switchover. You even have to manage the move yourself. It is your responsibility to get the timing right to ensure you are not offline for an inconvenient time – as your work from home increases.
Ofcom had asked the industry to develop a process to end this discrepancy – so that the switch from BT to Virgin Media, HyperOptic to Sky or TalkTalk to EE is identical.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Since this has not happened, Ofcom employees are now working on developing their own solution. The regulator says it will consult the public and companies involved before rolling it out before the December 2022 deadline.
Following the UK Government’s £ 1.2 billion pledge to deliver “gigabit-enabled” fiber optic broadband to millions of households across the UK by the end of 2025, a large number of smaller companies have sprung up to challenge familiar faces like BT . Sky and Virgin Media. As these giants spin to serve more full-fiber customers, the new kids on the block are quickly working to be first in a number of locations or, if they don’t, offer perks from more established ones Brands are not offered. However, switching to these new competitors can be a real headache.