Coronavirus: Keeping your business connected
Last updated: [02/04/2020 13:00]
During uncertain times when everything about us is changing and every day is a new reality, you need to keep your business working. You need certainty in an uncertain world.
We’re helping by having the network and capacity already there, so you can focus on what’s important – keeping your business running.
Coronavirus: Keeping you updated
As we’re all aware, coronavirus COVID-19 has spread rapidly across the globe. It’s not only a worry for our health, but also how our businesses function and thrive day-to-day.
We’ll regularly update this page as the situation develops, with detailed information about our products and services, and more ways we’re supporting businesses in these difficult times.
101 calls to the police now free
We no longer charge BT customers for calls to the 101 non-emergency police service.
Free 101 calls support the 999 emergency service – and help manage the impact caused by the coronavirus outbreak. At BT, we fully support the Home Office request for a free service, and have taken this action as quickly as possible.
Coronavirus: The best ways to stay in touch
Due to Covid-19, we’re making changes to how we work to ensure we’re looking after our customers and team members.
Because call times will be longer than usual as we focus on critical cases, we now have quicker ways to resolve your queries than calling us.
We’ve expanded our Livechat team, and we’re ready to help Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.
It’s quick and simple to manage your service yourself online and in the BT Business app.
Here are just a few of the things that you can do in My Account:
- View and download your bills
- Check your usage
- View any out of allowance costs
- Report and track orders and faults
With lots of useful articles, videos and user guides online, it’s easy to find the answer you’re looking for without calling. Here’s a few of the common queries:
Thank you for your patience, we really appreciate it.
Our retail stores
We’ve temporarily closed all our BT and EE retail stores across the country to protect the welfare of our customers and our people.
We thank our retail colleagues for all their hard work in helping to keep businesses like yours connected. We’ve committed to keeping them on full pay throughout this challenging time.
If you had an upcoming appointment with us at one of our stores you’ll have received an email or call letting you know what to do next.
In the meantime, we’ll continue to follow Government advice as to when to safely re-open our retail stores. Be sure to return to this page for all the latest updates.
We look forward to welcoming you back to our shops soon.
Bills and payments
We recognise the financial impact that coronavirus is having across the UK, and our team will be able to help you with any concerns or questions you have about your BT Business bill.
We want to support you as best as we can, but to allow us to focus on the customers who need help urgently, we ask that you only contact us after your latest bill has been issued and you have a balance on your account.
Please don’t worry if you’re not able to pay your bill as a result of business disruption caused by Covid-19 – we’ll make sure your service isn’t cut off automatically.
And we’re looking at more ways we can help our customers finding it difficult to pay their BT Business bill due to the impact of coronavirus. Once we have more information we’ll be updating this statement.
Free online courses to help working from home
Technology plays a key role in getting us through this crisis. So we’re running a series of free online courses to help you and your people improve your digital skills.
Discover new online tools, social media advice and new digital tips and tricks. All designed to empower you with the skills for these challenging times. View free courses
Plus we have lots more free learning content on our Skills for Tomorrow website. Access any time for topics such as making sure your customers can find you online, connecting with customers on a mobile, and promoting your business with online advertising. Ideal for small businesses and their employees.
The networks to support working from home
With home working increasing hugely in response to COVID-19, you need to be confident you can keep connected. There’s more than enough capacity in our UK broadband and mobile networks to handle the demand. Here’s why.
Our network is built to accommodate evening peak network capacity, which is driven by data-heavy things like video streaming and game downloads, for example.
In comparison, work-related applications like video calls and daytime email traffic use only a fraction of the data. Even if the same heavy data traffic that we see each evening were to run throughout the daytime, there’s still enough capacity for work applications to run simultaneously.
Working from home – your checklist
If you need to work from home or help your people to do so, here are some key things to think about:
- Is there suitable connectivity at home, such as a broadband line?
- Is there security in place to dial in remotely into systems outside your corporate LAN or WAN?
- Likewise, is there security and protection for your equipment?
- Are any data backup or storage facilities needed to work effectively from home?
- What will you use to make calls – devices or Skype, for example?
- Do you need communication tools such as a headset or video camera?
- Do you have the collaboration tools including the right licenses and quality of service?
How our voice products help with home working
Most of BT's IP voice products come with applications that can work on your mobile phone or desktop. This means as long as you have a good 4G or wi-fi connection you can make and receive calls when you’re away from the office using an app on your mobile.
All calls to customers within your organisation are free. Calls outside of your organisation to a landline or mobile will be charged according to your current call plan.
Here are the apps we have for our voice products:
- Cloud Phone (for Cloud Work and Cloud Phone) – download for IOS & Android mobiles, Windows and Apple desktops
- Cloud Voice Express – download for IOS & Android mobiles
- Cloud Voice Communicator (for Cloud Voice Enhanced) – download for IOS & Android mobiles, Windows and Apple desktops
- BT One Phone – download for IOS & Android mobiles
If you have BT Cloud Phone, Cloud Voice Express, Cloud Voice, Cloud Work or One Phone, you can take your IP enabled handset to a different location and it will work as normal. IP handsets work over the internet so rather than plugging the device into the landline port in your home, you will need to plug it into your broadband hub. IP devices generally need 500Kbps or more to work, so if you have fibre broadband you should be fine.
Note: If you need to call 999 it’s better to use a mobile or home phone. If using your IP phone, make sure you give the operator your location.
You can use these apps to collaborate by video and screen shares, both within and outside your organisation. Thanks to support from Ring Central, we’re upgrading all our Cloud Phone and Cloud Work customers for free from 30 March. We’ll email you when we’ve upgraded your service. If you need collaboration apps immediately, please call our sales teams.
As well as this, we’re offering all of our Cloud Voice customers free access to Cisco Webex. For more details about the offer and to sign up please visit their website.
Video and presence applications use up more of your internet and VPN bandwidth than just surfing the internet or making calls. If things start slowing down, you may wish to manage bandwidth by reducing streaming to give you a better service on things you need most.
For help and support with the collaboration apps available with BT voice products, simply select from the below:
You can set call forwards to re-route your calls to your mobile. This may be the best option if you don’t have good broadband connectivity.
- How to divert calls on your BT landline
- Add call diversion and other calling features to your BT landline
- How to set up call forwarding for Cloud Voice Express customers on the app
- How to set up call forwarding for Cloud Voice Express online
- How to set up call forwarding for BT Cloud Voice
- How to set up call forwarding for Cloud Phone and Cloud Work
- How to set up call forwarding for BT's PBX systems
Special benefits for voice customers during the coronavirus outbreak
To help our Cloud Voice customers, we’re offering:
Free unlimited access to online training content
Our training content helps you learn how to best set up and use Cloud Voice features and capabilities so you can keep your customers informed while you’re working remotely.
Usually available at an extra charge, Cloud Voice training content is now free until 30 June 2020. Our online administration courses, video tutorials, live web casts and one-to-one guru sessions will help you to:
- install and configure the BT Cloud Voice Communicator app and other key features to help with remote working;
- manage changes to your system including forwarding calls, recording announcements and changing business hours.
Sign up to our offer online and fill out the form.
Our training partner ITEL will be in touch with your Login details.
Free mobile and desktop apps for all users until 30 June 2020
Our BT Cloud Voice Communicator app is standard for all Collaborate User licences and an add-on for Connect User licences. To help support remote working we’re making this available free of charge to all users regardless of licence type. So, if you have a Basic or Connect User licence, you’ll get access to the BT Communicator for free to enable inbound and outbound voice calls.
We’ve already given access to the majority of our customers, however we still have a few more to upgrade. We should complete all these by 1 April. If you try to log in and we haven’t yet upgraded your account, you may receive a message saying ‘Invalid Client Licence’, so please bear with us.
Free access to Cisco Webex for audio and video calls
We’re offering all our Cloud Voice Enhanced customers free access to Cisco Webex. For more details about the offer and to sign up please visit their website.
Thanks to support from Ring Central, we’re upgrading all our BT Cloud Phone and BT Cloud Work customers for free from 30 March. We’ll email you when we’ve upgraded your service. If you need collaboration apps immediately, please call our sales teams.
We're currently working with our teams and partners to discuss training, collaboration tools and other upgrades that we may be able to offer on these products to help support with remote working. Please continue to check this page regularly for any updates.
Technology to keep you connected during coronavirus
To keep communications open for you with your colleagues, customers and partners during this time, we’re working hard to provide a range of technology solutions including:
- Short-term upgrades to your network capacity
- Adding more VPN connectivity to support increased remote working
- Extra conferencing and collaboration tools such as file sharing to allow your teams to work together as if they were in the office
- Call routing/forwarding solutions to divert calls to home phones or mobiles
Once we have more information on these solutions, we’ll update this page to link through to them.
Frequently asked questions
BT Group has more up to date information on how the coronavirus is impacting the way it works and the steps that it’s taking at https://btplc.com/coronavirus/index.htm
Openreach, who provide network access services, have announced that no work will be carried out by engineers inside customer premises, unless they’re part of the Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) of the U.K.
This decision will impact the services we can provide, and certain products may not be available. This is an industry wide issue, not just affecting BT.
We understand this could cause problems for you, but we do have plenty of products that won’t require and Openreach engineer. For example, self-install connectivity solutions and mobile access such as 4G Assure.
Our number one priority is to ensure that businesses and essential public services stay connected whilst protecting the health and wellbeing of our colleagues. We fully support Openreach’s decision, as this change will help protect us all.
We thank you for your patience and understanding.
COVID-19 focused service offers
In light of the present challenging circumstances, we’ve put together a Cabinet Office approved list of service offers across a number of procurement routes, which will help you to be able to deal with the challenges of COVID-19.