AdEPT Communications Secure Openreach Flexibility During Covid-19 Pandemic

Richard Burbage, Managing Director for AdEPT Communications discusses how AdEPT worked to get industry consensus on how to help customers through Covid-19

None of us could foresee the global pandemic (Covid-19)  in advance and the same is true as to just how much it would affect UK businesses and specifically AdEPT customers. However, there were some obvious areas where we knew customers would ask for our help. One of these is the ability to temporarily suspend some services and to restart them when needed, in support of the Government ‘mothball’ strategy.

On our own this would have been difficult to achieve, and so we knew we needed to put pressure on our Wholesale Partners, and specifically Openreach (part of BT) who look after the fibres, wires and cables that connect the majority of the county.

In early April the AdEPT Chairman, Ian Fishwick, reached out to a number of other Communication Providers to achieve a consensus as to what assistance our industry would require from Openreach to deliver tangible help for our customers during these times. This initiative resulted in a request for support signed by the majority of Communications Providers in the market and was submitted to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Rt Hon Oliver Dowden, as well as to the head of Openreach in the UK.

Within days AdEPT had successfully secured the help we were looking for directly from Openreach.  The team at AdEPT are now in the process of reviewing the small print and we will then communicate this to all positively impacted customers.

We knew very early on what would be asked of us and we knew how essential it would be to go to the very top to secure such unprecedented support. Our Chairman’s approach with other Communication Providers to get an industry-wide consensus was essential to send a united message to the UK Government and to Openreach. The resultant positive response by Openreach will make a huge difference to AdEPT customers who need the help the most. Yes, there is some small print which means it doesn’t apply to everybody, but by and large, it’s a big win for AdEPT, the industry at large and our customers, and is further evidence of how we’re taking our role as the 4th Utility service seriously.

Written by Richard Burbage

Divisional Managing Director, Communications