All of the country's major telecoms providers have committed to a number of measures to help people stay in touch and work from home during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Eir, BT Ireland, Pure Telecom, Sky Ireland, Tesco Mobile Ireland, Three Ireland, Virgin Media Ireland and Vodafone have all signed up to the new measures.

Under the new Covid-19 Consumer Commitments, any fixed broadband customers who do not have unlimited usage already as standard will be given the opportunity - if they want it - to upgrade their package with their current service provider.

Any customer who does not have fixed broadband and who relies on mobile access to the Internet will also have the chance to avail of an affordable unlimited mobile data access/package from their service provider. 

To help customers to remain connected during the crisis, service providers will engage with any customer that contacts them who is in financial difficulty as a result of Covid-19 and has difficulty paying their bills to agree the best way of keeping them connected to voice and data. 

The commitments will also mean that fair usage policies will not be automatically applied to unlimited fixed and mobile data packages and service providers may implement appropriate permitted traffic management measures to avoid network congestion.

Meanwhile, access to healthcare and educational resource websites identified by the Government will also be zero-rated for all customers where technically feasible.

The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton said that now more than ever, people are relying on online services to stay in touch with family, friends and work colleagues. 

The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton

"These commitments will make sure that all major providers are responding to this increased reliance, providing extra capacity where needed and ensuring people have the services they need to stay connected," Mr Bruton said. 

He added that these are common commitments and some operators may choose to offer extra services to their customers.

The Minister said the commitments will be implemented by operators as soon as possible. 

They will remain available to consumers until June 30 and will be reviewed in advance of that date if needed, he added. 

Torlach Denihan, Director of Telecommunications Industry Ireland, said that at what is a critical period for Ireland and a very challenging time for many across the country, 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," Mr Denihan said.