Coronavirus Update
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13th May 2020

We are COVID-Secure.

We are pleased that our operations can meet the full COVID-19 Secure Guidelines. We will do everything we possibly can to Stay Alert, Control the Virus and Save Lives.

Our team continue to function from home, as they have done throughout COVID-19. When we work on other people’s premises, in COVID-19 or at any time, we have long believed that safety is everybody’s responsibility – our management team, our staff and our customers. Having conversations between everyone and risk assessing leads to safer working practices. Although we are not obliged to, we have today published our COVID-19 risk assessment – so we’re able to continue having honest and worthwhile conversations about how to minimise the risk to everybody.

Our COVID-19 Risk Assessment for Onsite Work

11th May 2020

We are fully operational.

Verstech is fully operational, and, subject to appropriate agreement of COVID-Secure methodologies, we are now able to once again undertake full onsite works, irrespective of where they are an emergency or not.

Openreach, in the last few days, have lifted some restrictions on their product and are beginning to return to normal operations.Due to the back log of orders, there is an enhanced lead time.

2nd April 2020 – update from openreach

Number Porting

We have been informed the Openreach Number Portability helpdesk is back on line, albeit with a reduced operating capacity. The good news is that most ports are progressing as normal – some may have small delays where Openreach back office support is needed. This still means that their normal communication channels will still be closed resulting in longer than normal response times. Where necessary, we will attempt number porting, but we unfortunately cannot offer any SLAs or timescales at this time.

Line Installations

The situation on Line Installations remains unchanged, and we are unable to schedule new appointments (apart from critical infrastructure) until 1st June 2020.

25th March 2020 – update from openreach

Number Porting

Openreach have closed thier number portability service. Across the industry, it will not be possible to initiate any number ports, or get updates on the majority of your orders until 6th April 2020. No ‘in-flight’ number porting orders will complete prior to this date.

Fixed Line Services

Openreach will now prioritise only the essential work and absolutely minimise work that requires their engineers to enter end customer premises. Provision work carried out by Service Delivery and Fibre and Network Delivery will be limited to:

  • Self-install activities (i.e. where there is no engineering visit to the end customer premises)
  • Service to vulnerable end customers (in-home and carried out safely, only where essential)
  • Those end customers who have no other form of broadband or telephony available – Openreach will look to deal with these via escalation channels jointly with the CP to find a solution that doesn’t require a home visit
  • On-premises work for critical national infrastructure customers (NHS, pharmacies, utilities, emergency services, retail and wholesale food distribution outlets, financial services businesses and other categories defined by the Government)

With immediate effect:

  • Appointment books will be closed for new appointed provision with books moved out to 1st June 2020
  • Openreach will attempt to complete appointed in-flight orders outside of the premises
  • Non appointed orders will continue to go ahead where no visit is required to go to the premises (transfers, upgrades to Fibre to the Cabinet)
  • Repair books will remain open at this time – Openreach are reviewing non urgent repair
  • Engineers will be asked NOT to enter the end customer premises and to enable/restore service where possible from outside of the premises
  • Openreach will ask CPs to help them identify Critical Network Infrastructure and vulnerable end customer tasks in order to prioritise these

24th March 2020 – we remain open for business

The current COVID-19 Coronavirus situation is evolving daily, and please be assured we are continuing to follow government guidance. We have always maintained comprehensive and tested continuity & recovery plans. Whilst we did not ever expect to use them on this scale, we made the decision to implement our plans in early March, and we have continued to provide normal service levels so far.

However, with immediate effect, we will be unable to visit customer sites unless it is an absolute almost “life and death” emergency. That is hard to define of course, but in the very unlikely event that we need to go on site, this will be totally at our discretion and may be subject to certain conditions around social distancing.

Like us, the external service providers that we use are continuing to operate as best as they are able. We are aware that due to curfews imposed by the Indian government, BT/Openreach are now experiencing substantial delays in delivery. We expect this to mean that faults, new installations and changes during this time are not progressed in a usual timescale. We would also expect this to include Virgin Media lines as well.

We have numerous workarounds that we can bring in for home workers, such as putting in place 4G/Mobile Data solutions where broadband services have failed. We will do everything we can, but as we are sure you can appreciate, we are beholden to external infrastructure providers.

In the meantime, we are open for business and intend to remain so. We send our best wishes to you and your loved ones and advise that you only continue to work if it is indeed safe to do so – please stay safe.

Team Verstech
24th March 2020

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