Stepping up and playing our vital role during the pandemic
12 January 2021
Since the start of the pandemic we have been tireless in our efforts to keep our customers and people safe and ensure that the country stays connected.
We know how important our services are right now to people’s everyday lives. We take that responsibility seriously and are proud to step up and play our part in these tough times.
Here’s what we’re doing.
Last year, we upgraded more than a million customers to ultrafast speeds and removed all remaining caps on our broadband products, so everyone can use their home connectivity without any worries. This now means almost all of our broadband customers have speeds of at least 100Mbps to work, play, stream and keep in touch with friends and family.
Our incredible engineers are also working around the clock to help maintain our network as usage continues to rise more than ever before.
The health and wellbeing of our people and customers is always our top priority, so we’re following government and medical advice to put safety first while making sure we that we still help our customers and connect households to our services. All of our procedures are continually reviewed and updated with this in mind, and wherever possible we are helping customers remotely or providing self-install packs. We’ve also put extra safety measures and checks in place before and during any required customer visits.
Giving a helping hand
We know that there are some people who need additional support during this difficult period and we’re committed to helping them.
As schools have closed and children are switching to remote learning once again, we understand this is tough for many families. As well as having no caps on our broadband, we have, since last year, worked with government to provide 20GB of extra mobile data for free to those who don’t have any broadband connectivity and have limited mobile data. On top of this, as of last weekend, we are zero-rating access to the Oak National Academy learning resources for all schoolchildren and will look at zero-rating access to other learning resources on request. Additionally, we already zero rate a number of health and support sites such as the NHS app, Victim Support and the NSPCC website.
Building on the many measures we already have in place, we have provided additional mobile data and minutes for vulnerable customers and have ensured any issues are prioritised by our customer service teams. We’re also offering assistance to these vulnerable customers who may have payment concerns or are worried about their bill.
Our Essential broadband plan has been launched too, which is available to those who receive Universal Credit. It delivers hassle-free, affordable and reliable connectivity to ensure those facing financial difficulty can get online.
Not forgetting our small and home business customers, we are supporting them through any financial difficulties by offering a payment holiday or the option to take our reduced-cost Essential Business product.
At the start of the pandemic we gave millions of our customers a whole host of extra TV programming for free – from documentaries to comedy and drama. With another lockdown forcing people back into their homes again, we are working with our content providers to give our TV line-up another big boost and again offer a series of additional content to our customers at no extra cost over the coming weeks.
Standing with our NHS
The heroic work of NHS staff deserves true praise and recognition and we’re proud to keep supporting them. We’re providing doctors, nurses and other NHS workers with free broadband speed boosts as well as additional mobile data and minutes, and have helped many frontline workers get online throughout the pandemic. Our Virgin Media Business teams have also supported hospitals, vaccination centres and other key public sites to make sure they have the connectivity and tools needed. This is on top of assisting businesses with their shift to remote working and supporting them as they have adapted to the new world we’re in.
While there’s much more that is going on at Virgin Media, and across the industry, none of this would be possible without the efforts and dedication of our people. From engineers and installers to our customer service teams, these key workers are at the heart of making these good things happen.
We will get through this pandemic and, as we have done since the start, we’ll keep stepping up to keep the country connected, support our customers and help the nation to bounce back as we all look ahead to brighter times.
Lutz Schüler is CEO of Virgin Media