Will the Coronavirus stop me getting my new broadband?

The simple answer is – no it shouldn’t.

Why shouldn’t it?

As we know, more and more people are working from home and also not wanting unknown people to come into our homes, the good news is that the vast majority of broadband switches between the UK’s largest providers are unaffected by the lockdown and social distancing even though Openreach has suspended all engineer appointments until June 1st 2020 at the earliest.

Why is this?

This is because Openreach are the largest UK network infrastructure operator and it is on these lines that the likes of BT, SKY, TalkTalk, Plusnet, The Post Office, SSE, NOW Broadband, John Lewis, Shell Energy or EE provide their broadband, so switching between these operators can all be done through a self-installation because the infrastructure and connections are already there so an engineer appointment is not required.

The switching timeframe is also the same before the national health emergency as it now, everything is unaffected as you will receive your router (and box if required) through the post.

The above is the case no matter what broadband package you are getting, it is easy to set up yourself whether you are getting a superfast fibre package or basic broadband.

You haven’t mentioned Virgin Media

Virgin Media own their own network and are separate to Openreach, currently, their engineer appointments are unaffected and they are following strict protocol such as spending the minimum time possible in houses, always observing social distancing, they will text 3 days and 1 day before the appointment to ask about any illness or self isolation, if there is any concern then the installation is postponed for 14 days. The engineers also work with disposable latex gloves and have always carries anti bacterial hand wipes.

So with the above measures, switching broadband is still safe and the installation times should be the same as they have always been.

What switches will be affected?

Openreach announced that as of midday on the 24th March it will be limiting the number of engineer installations and in most cases stopping these which means, if your switch is one of the small proportion that requires an engineer you wont be able to complete the switch. The percentage of people that need an engineer on the Openreach network is under 10%

The exception to this is a vulnerable person, and you will have to speak to the supplier directly about this and they will be able to help. The details can be found here

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