The telecoms industry has introduced a series of new measures it says will benefit consumers during the Covid-19 pandemic fallout, including support for customers in financial straits.
BT Ireland, eir, Pure Telecom, Sky Ireland, Tesco Mobile Ireland, Three Ireland, Virgin Media Ireland and Vodafone and others have all signed up to seven key measures they say will assist working from home.
The measures include "any fixed broadband customers who do not have unlimited usage already as standard will be given the opportunity, if they require, to upgrade their package", while customers who rely solely on mobile access to get online can avail of "affordable unlimited mobile data access".
Access to healthcare and educational resource websites identified by the Government will be zero-rated for all customers where technically feasible, the agreement states. Access to a zero-rated website is completely free and so does not count for billing purposes or data usage.
Firms will engage with any customer that contacts them due to difficulty paying their bills.
Telecommunications Industry Ireland, the Ibec group for the sector that introduced the measures, said they are needed in a critical period for the country.
Director Torlach Denihan said: "The telecommunications industry is working very hard to ensure that people remain connected to their loved ones and to essential services while being able to work and study from home.
"Consumers who are in financial difficulty as a result of Covid-19 and have difficulty paying their bills, including those who are cocooning, will be assisted by their service provider to agree an affordable solution for their voice and data services."
The measures stay in place until June 30.
The Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) welcomed the measures, saying the economic fallout has meant many worried people now find themselves in very difficult financial circumstances.
ComReg commissioner Robert Mourik said: “The commitments are designed to give consumers reassurance about communications usage while maintaining the overall stability of our electronic communications networks.
"These measures will also help to ensure that consumers who are financially vulnerable as a result of the Covid-19 crisis will get assistance from their service provider to agree an affordable solution for their voice and data service."