Ireland’s communications minister Richard Bruton has announced that all of the country’s major telcos have committed to a number of measures aimed at helping people stay in touch and work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a press release published by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE), it was confirmed that the service providers signed up to the initiative are: BT Ireland, eir, Pure Telecom, Sky Ireland, Tesco Mobile Ireland, Three Ireland, Virgin Media Ireland and Vodafone Ireland.
As per the DCCAE’s release, the ‘COVID-19 Consumer Commitments’ include: the ability for all fixed broadband customers not on an unlimited package to request an upgrade via their current service provider; an opportunity for those customers reliant solely on mobile internet access to take up an ‘affordable’ unlimited mobile data package from their provider; and confirmation that fair usage policies will not be automatically applied to unlimited fixed and mobile broadband plans. In addition, it has been confirmed that access to healthcare and educational resource websites identified by the Irish government will be zero-rated for all customers ‘where technically feasible’, while service providers have also agreed to engage with any customer contacting them regarding difficulties paying their bills. Finally, it has also been established that service providers will be allowed to implement ‘appropriate permitted traffic management measures’ in order to avoid network congestion. Operators are expected to work with local telecoms regulator the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) in the event of complaints raised to the latter body by those consumers who consider they are not being treated in accordance with these commitments.