COVID-19 – Partner Update 7, 1st May


It’s more important than ever that you receive the support and advice you need to manage the demands of your business. As the latest news and advice around COVID-19 continues to evolve daily, our teams are here to support you and your business, and to keep you up to date with key industry news.

You can view a snapshot of all of our Partner communications including all recent COVID-19 updates on our website – If you would like us to add any of your colleagues to our mailing list, just reply to this email and we’ll make sure that they receive all future communications.

Remember that we’re here to help. If you have any queries or feedback, please get in touch.

Openreach initiatives

We’ve been working closely with Openreach to establish a clear process for delivering their COVID-19 initiatives. We’re now pleased to make these available to you, enabling you to respond to your customers’ needs.

You can now access temporary service suspensions for WLR Fixed Line.

Single PSTN lines – should you need to cease a line before 30th June 2020, you’ll be able to restart this line ahead of 30th September 2020 at no charge.

PSTN Multi-lines and ISDN – you can now place these services on ‘temporary out of service’ (TOS), enabling you to suspend rental charges for up to three months. This applies for orders completed ahead of 30th June 2020.

To find out more, or to place a request, email

Note that Openreach’s initiatives are available for SME customers only – defined as a business having fewer than 250 employees and a turnover of less than £45 million.

Openreach also advise that these initiatives can be applied to a maximum of 20% of a Partner’s WLR estate.

If you missed our summary of the Openreach statement, you can request a copy by emailing

Ethernet hibernation

9’s Connect Ethernet – you can now introduce a hibernation period with 9’s Connect Ethernet product. The hibernation period can remain in place for up to 90 days and is available for SME customers only. If you would like to arrange hibernation for any customers, please get in touch.

We continue to work with other connectivity suppliers to understand if they can offer a hibernation period similar to the offering that we’ve provided on our own network. If you have a request, please get in touch and we’ll do our best to see how this can be supported.

Email requests to

O2 migration orders

Earlier this month we were advised that O2 were experiencing issues with migrations. We’re pleased to confirm that this has now been resolved by the network and any backlog has been cleared. New migration orders will be processed as usual.

Number porting

Earlier this month Openreach announced a temporary suspension of porting services. We’re pleased to confirm that the suspension has been lifted and new port orders are being processed as normal.

New NHS number – 119

Ofcom has agreed that the 3-digit telephone number ‘119’ will be used as an integral part of the NHS’s COVID-19 response programme.

The new short code 119, will work in parallel with the current 111 NHS Direct helpline and will be a key part of the NHS’s effort to keep the country safe and handle the threat from Coronavirus.

It is expected that the Government will announce that this service will be available soon. We know that this is an unprecedented request in extraordinary circumstances and that the timescales for implementing 119 are extremely challenging. The NHS, Government and Ofcom greatly appreciate the amount of effort involved in making the number available for your customers to call at this time of need.

In normal circumstances, Ofcom would consult on adding a new 3-digit number to the National Telephone Numbering Plan. However, given the extreme urgency of the requirement for 119, Ofcom is making the number available for use via industry implementation rather than a formal designation in the Numbering Plan.

Vodafone (as the existing service provider for 111) is the network partner for the 119 service. Vodafone has engaged with its interconnection partners and set out that the wholesale arrangements for 119 will be the same as calls to 111, which are free to the caller.

We recommend that partners check if anyone already has 119 within their internal ranges – including if this has been programmed onto a customer’s PBX – as they will need to remove this from their internal number plan.

For eve partners, full details will follow in a separate communication.

Get in touch

Whatever we face in the in the weeks to come, 9 Group’s support teams are here to assist you and your business. We’ll do our best to help you through this difficult time.

If you have any questions or feedback, please get in touch, we’re here to help.

If you would like to have a conversation with me directly, just call 07734 972 566 or email

Stay safe.

Adam Cathcart
Managing Director – 9’s Partner division

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